Markel says initial steps on Greece, Italy hotspots

'Europe facing historic challenge on migrants'

(ANSA) - Berlin, October 15 - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that Greece and Italy have taken initial steps to set up so-called hotspots to process asylum claims, but this is shared European duty.
    Outlying islands of both countries are the first landfall for refugees sailing across the Mediterranean in a bid to flee war and destitution in Africa and the Middle East.
    "Greece and Italy have taken the first steps on hotspots, but we must consider this a joint European task," she told the German parliament, or Bundestag.
    Germany is willing to provide staff and other aid, she added.
    "It is not an exaggeration to say that Europe is facing a historic challenge," she told German lawmakers.
    "I expect everyone to contribute," she said, citing today's European Council meeting in Brussels.


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