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Juncker: A moment of silence for migrants isn't enough

EU Commission chief Juncker has lashed out at the European leaders for their handling of the refugee crisis. German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière says there is no easy solution to the crisis.

"It is not enough [for European leaders] to sit in front of the TV in the evening and shed tears while watching people drown in the Mediterranean Sea, and then hold a minute of silence the next morning at the Council," EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told Germany's "Der Spiegel" magazine on Saturday.

Juncker announced that despite resistance from many European countries, the European Commission planned to allocate a mandatory quota for the distribution of the refugees ahead of the EU summit on the issue in Brussels next week.

"We will hold to our position," Juncker said.

Xavier Bettel, the prime minister of Luxembourg, which takes over the six-month rotating EU presidency in July, has also criticized his colleagues at the European Council of national leaders. He said the solidarity with the refugees "fizzled out quickly in the last few weeks."

Christoph Strässer, the German government's human rights commissioner, called for a better international response to the refugee crisis.

According to the United Nations,

a record number of 60 million people fled their homes

in the conflict zones last year. At least half of them are children. Some 80,000 migrants have arrived in Italy since the start of the year.

Germany has spent approximately 650 million euros ($738 million) in the past 18 months on the welfare of

the refugees in Syria and Iraq

, according German Development Minister Gerd Müller.

'No quick solutions'

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said patience and help from the policymakers and the public would be crucial to resolving the issue. The politician attended a ceremony held in Berlin on Saturday to honor the victims of war and displacement.

Last year, the German government decided to hold a national day of remembrance for the displaced people on June 20.

"What is absolutely unacceptable is the politically motivated crisis for these migrants," de Maiziere warned, adding that there were no easy and quick solutions to resolve the issue.

shs/sms (AFP, dpa)

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