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Kohl: Europe can't take in so many refugees

Brandon Conradis (Reuters, dpa)April 16, 2016

The former German chancellor has raised concerns about the number of refugees entering Europe. His comments come just before a controversial meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Deutschland Alt-Bundeskanzler Helmut Kohl - Bundestagsuntersuchungsausschuss
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/P. Förster

Kohl, who guided Germany through its tumultuous period of reunification, as well as Europe's early stages of integration, said the bloc's peace and freedom could be at stake.

In a column scheduled to be published on Sunday in the German newspaper Tagesspiegel am Sonntag, the 86-year-old Kohl said the EU's current refugee policy wouldn't alleviate the problems facing both Europe and the displaced people themselves.

"The solution lies in the affected regions," he wrote. "It does not lie in Europe. Europe cannot become a new home for millions of people in need around the world."

'Something to lose'

Ungarn PK Orban zur Flüchtlingskrise
Hungarian PM has been critical of Europe's approach to the refugeesImage: Reuters

The column will appear shortly before Kohl meets with Hungarian PM Viktor Orban, who has drawn criticism from other members of the EU for his resistance to taking in refugees, including the erecting of a razor-wire fence along his country's border.

"We are aware that we have something to lose and that it is worth fighting for the European project for peace and freedom," Kohl wrote, referring to Orban.

Allies of Kohl have denied that his meeting with Orban is an affront to Chancellor Angela Merkel, Kohl's estranged former protege, who is largely seen as the one steering the EU's refugee policy.

Horst Seehofer, another Merkel critic and head of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the sister party of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), also drew criticism when he met with Orban in March.