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Germany 'must take in more refugees'

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Germany 'must take in more refugees'
Photo: DPA
09:14 CEST+02:00
An accident off the coast of Italy this weekend in which hundreds of African refugees died has prompted President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz to call on Germany to take in more people in need.

“Refugees have to be shared more fairly between EU member states. This then means that Germany has to take in extra people,” Schulz told the Bild newspaper on Monday.

Authorities on Sunday continued to pull corpses from the waters off southern Italy, after a boat carrying 500 refugees burst into flames and sank before it could arrive at its destination - the island of Lampedusa.

With the death toll hovering around 200 by Monday morning, a debate has erupted among EU politicians. “It is a shame that the EU has left Italy to handle the stream of refugees from Africa by itself for so long,” Schulz told the paper.

For Germany's Development Minister Dirk Niebel, the tragedy is proof that the EU needs “ overarching, European migration and refugee policies.”

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said Europe needed to control better human smuggling networks. They accept money and help refugees over borders, illegally while “with false promises that can put people's lives at risk, and even kill them.”

The around 300 survivors of the crash now face fines of up to €5000 each, after politicians heard on Saturday how they paid their smugglers thousands of dollars to be taken through the Sahara and across the Atlantic.

In the wake of the boat sinking, Italy approached the EU asking for more support with their almost continuous stream of refugees.

READ MORE: President calls on Germany to play greater global role

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