German minister wants EU petrol tax to pay for migrant crisis

Syrias refugees demonstrate against violence at the main train station in Cologne, western Germany. (AFP)
Syrias refugees demonstrate against violence at the main train station in Cologne, western Germany. (AFP)

Berlin - Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble on Saturday raised the prospect of introducing a tax on petrol in Europe to pay for solving the migrant crisis, in remarks to the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

"If national budgets or the EU budget are insufficient, let's agree to set up, for instance, a tax of a certain amount on each litre of petrol," the minister said.

"This way we would have the means for a European response to the refugee issue," he said, in an apparent reference to beefing up security at the European Union's outer borders in order to stop the migrant inflow.

"Finding a solution to the problem must not fail because of a lack of means."

Schäuble said the New Year's Eve mass sexual assaults in Cologne on women that have been blamed on Arab and North African men only "step up the pressure" to find "a solution to the problem of controlling the European Union's external borders".

"The problem must be solved at a European level," he said.

"Otherwise, it won't just be Germany that suffers the consequences, as some seem to think, but our neighbours will be massively affected too, as will the Balkans, and all the way down to Greece."

"Things are moving too slowly in Europe," he said, adding that he fully backed Chancellor Angela Merkel's efforts to solve the challenges posed by the migrant crisis.

"I support, with the full force of my convictions, what the chancellor says: we need to solve the problem starting from Europe's external borders," he said.

Otherwise, "Europe will find itself in an even bigger crisis.

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