After the devastating fires in Moria, Europe’s biggest refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer have agreed to take in an additional 1,500 migrants from Greece, mostly families with children who have already been recognized as especially vulnerable.
Seehofer had previously announced that Germany would accept between 100 and 150 unaccompanied minors from Lesbos.
According to reports, while this new agreement was discussed with the Greek government, it has not been discussed yet with the ruling parties, the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SDP) and the Christian Democratic Union-Christian Social Union (CDU-CSU) alliance. Hence, it remains to be seen whether the parties, especially the SPD will agree. Prior to Merkel’s and Seehofer's proposal, Saskia Esken, co-leader of the SPD, had said that Germany should take in “a high 4-digit number” of refugees.
Similarly, German Development Minister Gerd Müller called on Germany to take in 2,000 refugees. According to Müller, the fire in the camp was a “foreseeable catastrophe”, given its poor safety conditions. While both Merkel and Seehofer have emphasized the necessity of finding a Europe-wide solution, Müller stressed that due to lack of consensus, a smaller group of states willing to take in people could meet the challenge alone.
On Monday, September 14, 2020, Merkel underscored that while Germany could make “a substantial contribution”, any German action taken must be embedded as part of an overall European strategy. She expressed her support for the establishment of a new refugee camp under EU responsibility on the Greek island of Lesbos and promised help from Germany if such a camp were to be constructed.