German Chancellor Merkel confirms bilateral migrant agreements with Spain and Greece

Spain and Greece have agreed to take back asylum seekers already registered in those countries who are intercepted at the Austria-German border, Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed on Friday. However she said no bilateral agreement had been made with Italy.

“What we achieved here together is perhaps more than I had expected,” Merkel told reporters at the end of the summit. Merkel is to inform her coalition allies about the agreement on Friday evening.

“We are not at the end of the road. I always said that we would never be able to agree a common European asylum system here. But the more we agree among ourselves, the closer we get to a possible European solution. I’m convinced of that.”

The tentative agreement with Greece and Spain came on the sidelines of an EU leaders’ summit that reached a breakthrough on migration. It will go into effect once operational details are worked out in the next four week, the Chancellery said.

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(German chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo Bundesregierung/Henning Schacht)