EU member states’ capacity to accept migrants, as well as the distribution of tasks among developed countries, should be a subject of open debate, Hungarian President János Áder said on Friday, at a meeting of the Arraiolos group in Athens.
The Arraiolos group, a forum for European presidents without executive power, is holding its 15th meeting with presidents of Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia attending.
In his speech, Áder cited forecasts saying the population of Africa’s Sahel region, “where good quality water is already scarce”, will double by 2050. Europe will not be able to accept another 40 to 100 million migrants, Áder warned.
He also called on other developed states to pull their weight in tackling the migration crisis.
Aiding vulnerable communities to make a living in their homelands, improving the working environment and farming aids cannot be shouldered by the European Union alone, he said.
Áder also slammed the EU’s plans to slash its cohesion funds for member states, saying that farm subsidies will be needed in the next financial cycle as much as they had been needed so far.
Those subsidies should not be abandoned if the EU is to take cohesion among member states seriously, he added.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in his speech that the protection of external borders was an important task. However, the EU should also tackle a comprehensive reform of its asylum legislation, accepting the reality that the number of asylum seekers will grow in the future, he said.