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German Interior Minister Horst Zehwefer announced in an interview with himThat it has not yet been reached at a meeting of EU interior ministers today in the capital Finnish Helsinki An agreement on the distribution of refugees rescued from the Mediterranean. But he is counting on the possibility of reaching a final solution within weeks:

Deutsche Welle / : Mr. Zühöfer, you agreed at a meeting of the EU interior ministers in the Finnish capital of Helsinki on an "emergency mechanism" for the rescue of refugees in the Mediterranean, but the broadcast was postponed until September. Why have not they reached a final agreement so far?

Horst Zehover: Because the positions are different in Europe, we will be able to solve the immigration dilemma only with the participation of a large number of EU member states, especially in the field of maritime relief. To date, it was not possible to combine conflicting interests, but we made a big step forward by agreeing to continue working in Paris on Monday. The final round will then take place in early September in Malta. This is agreed with Italy and Malta. The French are also on our side. That is why I think we will reach a solution in early September.

Can you say that you were an "alliance" of countries that are prepared to receive refugees in case of agreement on an emergency solution?

Yes, I think we got the approval of a large number of countries. The new topic is that we do not wait for the approval of all states, but there must be a number Acceptable. After today's debate, I can say that we have a chance to get the approval of at least 12 EU member states.

Many of the people rescued in the Mediterranean today are not entitled to asylum in the European Union under existing rules. How do you want to deal with these people? Will they stay in Italy? Will they be brought to Germany or how does this emergency mechanism work?

We all agree on this point that these persons should be returned to their countries of origin as soon as possible. We are now thinking and working on a mechanism to ensure this. The return of persons, either from docking ports or from European Member States, must be ensured within a few weeks.

Malta Hafen Valletta | Rettungsschiff Alan Kurdi | Flüchtlinge (Reuters / D. Zammit Lupi)

Immigrants aboard a German non-governmental vessel "Alan Kurdi" in Port Valletta, Malta, in early July 2019

How do you prevent a naval rescue operation with the new "emergency mechanism" plan, increasing immigration?

There are mechanisms that have proved effective today, such as the repatriation of migrants from Libya The original. According to the numbers I know, this has succeeded in the case of about 40,000 immigrants. We have the Libyan Coast Guard off the coast of Libya to stop this uncontrolled move.

For its part, the Italian government has made clear these days that it will support the Libyan Coast Guard more. As Europeans, we must also send a clear signal that the person, who does not need protection, will not be able to stay in Europe. NGOs also have a responsibility to act indirectly to discourage illegal immigration.

Do you have the impression that Italy is acting constructively?

Yes, I saw my colleague Matteo Salvini, yesterday and today, very much focusing on the justifications for the problem, and we have had bilateral talks to solve them. I understand the position of Malta and Italy that they can not bear the problems of migration from Europe. So we have to support them. And then we will succeed. We explained to Salvini that we wanted to help him honestly. He also has legitimate concerns, because in a few weeks he should determine who is in need of protection. If this continues for several months, residency status becomes a reality and dealing with it is difficult legally. It has been very constructive discussions with Italy, as well as with other Member States.

Horst Zehover, 70, has been in the post since March 2018 as interior minister and immigration official. The politician was concluded from the Christian Social Union party (CSU) A year ago, the "package of immigration laws" with the Italian Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, and Has not reached any tangible result yet.

Interview: Bernd Riggert

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