Angela Merkel fears nothing more than a new migrant crisis, especially since reforms to the EU’s asylum system are not yet complete and remains the subject of very heated debate between the EU Member States. Faced with pressure from illegal immigration, “the very pillars of Europe will be shaken to their foundations, including freedom of movement,” she warned on Wednesday in Munich, speaking before an audience composed of elected representatives of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament, of which the governing German CDU-CSU coalition is a member.
Although the new Italian government of Prime Minister Conte is not seeing eye-to-eye with her, Angela Merkel nevertheless said that Italy, Greece, and Spain cannot be expected to struggle with the flow of migrants alone. “We must move towards a flexible solidarity system where everyone can contribute,” she said, without going into details. Brussels has also devised an alternative solution: The Member States that refuse to take in migrants could instead pay a fine at the rate of 250,000 euros per migrant refused. This sum would be paid to the state that would agree to in the asylum-seeker instead. Unofficially, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told the EPP officials that Hungary was willing to pay this fine to spare his country an undesirable foreign presence.