German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the potential benefits resulting from the influx of migrants far outweigh any dangers.
Merkel told German lawmakers Thursday that “the opportunities are much bigger than the risks, we just have to recognize and use them.”
She spoke hours after European Union leaders in Brussels agreed a series of measures to tackle the migrant crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands of people stream into the continent from Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Merkel said the bloc still needs to agree a “permanent system for a fair distribution of refugees across member states.”
Seeking to reassure state governors, whom she is meeting with later in the day, Merkel said Germany can meet the challenges.
”Who – if not we – has the strength to do so,” she said.
European Union leaders managed to agree early Thursday to boost border controls to manage the influx and to send 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) to international agencies helping refugees at camps near their home countries.
The leaders also said that task forces of European experts sent to help register and screen migrants in so-called hotspots must be fully operational in Greece and Italy, and perhaps also Bulgaria, by November.
“The measures we have agreed today will not end the crisis. But they are all necessary steps in the right direction,” EU Council President Donald Tusk said at the conclusion of the more than seven-hour meeting.