October 4, 2015 / 5:49 PM / 3 years ago

German finance minister says Europe needs to limit refugee influx

Migrants rest at a temporary shelter in a sports hall in Hanau, Germany, October 1, 2015. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

BERLIN (Reuters) - Europe needs to restrict the number of people coming to the continent, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Sunday, as the continent struggles to cope with record inflows of refugees.

“We need to limit the influx to Europe,” he said in an interview with German broadcaster ZDF, adding this was a European task and that Germany, the European Commission and others were working hard on it.

“The EU will do that very quickly now, above all with Turkey,” he said, without giving any further details.

A German newspaper reported on Sunday that the European Commission and Turkey had agreed on a plan to stem the flow of refugees to Europe by patrolling Turkey’s frontier with Greece and setting up new camps.

But an EU official involved in the negotiations with Turkey told Reuters the newspaper report went beyond what was currently being discussed between Brussels and Ankara.

Schaeuble said: “Europe needs to be prepared to take people in ... but we can’t do what is impossible.”

More than half a million migrants have entered the European Union this year. Some are eligible to claim asylum, for example those fleeing Syria’s civil war. Others, notably from the western Balkans, are generally considered economic migrants who must return home.

On Germany, which is the favored destination for many migrants, Schaeuble said: “We can’t manage this task at a national level any more.”

Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Susan Fenton and Susan Thomas

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