Berlin eyes deal for migrant returns with Greece by end July


Even as Germany's interior minister Horst Seehofer threatens the launch of mass returns of migrants if bilateral agreements are not achieved, German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen has suggested that such an accord with Greece may be signed by the end of the month.

In comments to Der Spiegel, Seehofer said the absence of bilateral deals was "not a good strategy" and that Germany will start returning migrants reaching its border if that situation is not rectified.

For his part, Alexander Dobrindt of the Christian Social Union said he believed German plans to return asylum seekers to European Union countries of first entry would not necessarily be met by cooperation.

"Whoever is not in a position to honor fundamental European regulations cannot expect cooperation in other areas," he said.

Von der Leyen, for her part, expressed her conviction that a bilateral agreement with Greece was a matter of time.

"We want an agreement with Greece by the end of the month," she told the Funke publishing group, adding that such an accord could be an example for other countries.

"The Italians want us to help them in exchange," she said. "Solidarity is significant, for everyone, irrespective of who is in government in Rome," she said.