Story highlights

  • Merkel says current EU asylum laws are 'obsolete'
  • Hollande warns EU states risk 'end of Europe'
  • EU states expect 600,000 refugee applicants this year

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have urged fellow EU leaders to unite to resolve the ongoing refugee crisis. 

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Merkel warned leaders of the dangers of succumbing to nationalism at a meeting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday.

"In the refugee crisis, we must not succumb to the temptation of falling back into acting in nationalistic terms ... national solo efforts are no solution to the refugee crisis," Merkel said.

Merkel went on to call existing EU rules on asylum "obsolete", as they place a burden on EU states where people arrive first to process claims for refugee status.

The German leader spoke after France's Hollande, who told EU leaders they risked the "end of Europe" if member states failed to remain united to tackle the refugee, euro currency and other crises.

"We need not less Europe but more Europe. Europe must affirm itself, otherwise we will see the end of Europe - our demise," Hollande said. 

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The president added the EU had made mistakes in dealing with the refugee crisis, telling EU parliamentarians that the organisation was slow to recognise the crisis developing.

"I recognise it willingly, Europe was slow to understand that the tragedies in the Middle East or in Africa could not be without consequences for it. Europe did not measure the hope it arouses and that it will long arouse in the face of distress," he said, according to the DPA news agency.

"Europe did not dispense enough help to countries who were welcoming in camps ever larger populations. So it's in an urgent fashion that it had to organise, Europe, to be worthy of its asylum tradition."

Hollande said it will "probably" be 600,000 migrants and refugees who will arrive in Europe this year. But he also argued that "it's in Turkey that refugees have to be welcomed as much as possible," calling for closer cooperation with Ankara.

Source: Agencies