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Merkel calls for EU to share refugee load

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Merkel calls for EU to share refugee load
Chancellor Angela Merkel with Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt in Copenhagen on Tuesday. Photo: DPA
16:33 CEST+02:00
German Chancellor Angela Merkel used a visit to Denmark to repeat her call for all European Union member states to join in taking care of newly-arrived refugees.

Countries should accept a share of the refugees according to their population and the strength of their economies, Merkel told a joint press conference in Copenhagen with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

Responding to allegations that last week's extraordinary leaders' summit on the Mediterranean refugee crisis had produced a disappointing result, she said that the latest joint moves “were only a start... not the solution to the whole problem.”

“We said that the most important thing is sea rescue,” Merkel added, saying that the additional resources promised by Germany, Denmark and other countries were “an important first step”.

Germany-Denmark tunnel going ahead

The Chancellor went on to say that the planned tunnel under the Baltic linking Danish island Lolland with the German island of Fehmarn would go ahead.

“I can't rule out a few delays cropping up,” Merkel said, “but that doesn't discourage us from sticking to the treaty and trying our best to stick to the timetable.”

Denmark's parliament has only just agreed on the law allowing construction to begin on the mega-project and freeing up funds.

The Danes will bear the €7.4 billion (about 55 billion Danish kroner) cost of digging the road and rail tunnel, while Germany will pay for connecting the exit to the German transport system.

Before construction begins, the government must work through over 3,000 objections.

Planners hope to have the 17.6-km tunnel completed by 2021, with the rail link running smoothly by 2024.

But higher than expected costs on the German side could see the Bundestag (German parliament) demanding a renegotiation of the treaty.

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