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Merkel - need joint refugee policy for EU Schengen system to work

German Chancellor Angela Merkel listens during a joint news conference with Romania's Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos (not pictured) at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, January 7, 2016. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday every effort must be made to retain the free movement of people within the European Union’s passport-free Schengen zone, but added this was dependent on a joint response to Europe’s refugee crisis.

“I don’t want to issue any concrete warnings here, or say ‘what happens if’, but I do want to say that a Schengen system can only work if there is joint responsibility for taking in refugees and joint responsibility for protecting the external borders,” Merkel told a joint news conference with Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos.

Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Madeline Chambers