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EU's Tusk: Europe's Future Depends on Germany's Approach to Refugee Crisis

  • Reuters

FILE - European Council President Donald Tusk addresses the European Parliament during a debate in Strasbourg, France, Oct. 27, 2015.

FILE - European Council President Donald Tusk addresses the European Parliament during a debate in Strasbourg, France, Oct. 27, 2015.

Europe's future will depend to a large degree on Germany's approach to the migration crisis and other states should show more solidarity by jointly tackling this historic challenge, European Council President Donald Tusk said on Monday.

EU leaders hold talks with African leaders on controlling migration on Wednesday and Tusk has called an informal meeting of EU heads of state on the refugee crisis on Thursday.

Tusk has repeatedly stressed the urgency of tightening Europe's borders, while Merkel has pushed for states to show "solidarity" and share responsibilities for refugees.

Speaking in Berlin on the 26th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Tusk described Germany and Chancellor Angela Merkel personally as examples of the best European values.

"Those who believe that Germany is too open, too tolerant, too liberal, forgot to do their homework about our tragic history," said Tusk, a former Polish prime minister.

"Do you want a Germany that is open, tolerant, compassionate, sympathizing with the weaker and the poorer, in other words the Germany of Angela Merkel, or a Germany which is closed, cold and ruthless? There is only one answer," he added.

Therefore, other European states should show solidarity towards Germany "in these difficult and testing times," he said.

EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker has accused national leaders of sapping efforts to tackle the migration crisis by not honoring commitments on money and resources.

Moral Message

Germany, on the other hand, should realize that it is responsible not only for "its moral message," but even more so for the whole political community of Europeans, Tusk added.

He urged Germany to provide strong leadership by helping to secure Europe's external borders and protect Europe against a rise of radical populism.

"Indeed, whether Europe survives as a continent of freedom, the rule of law, respect for an individual, and the security of its inhabitants will depend to a great extent on Germans," he said.

Tusk therefore called for a "modification" of the current European migration policy.

"In the face of the unprecedented scale of migrants flowing to Europe, we have to say in simple terms: Europe is not able to accept all the people willing to come to our continent," he said.

Since Germany is not a European border state, responsibility lies in the first place with other countries, Tusk said.

"But even so, everybody will be looking up to you, watching out for signals coming from Berlin," he added.