The EU needs to reduce the number of refugees coming to Europe within six to eight weeks, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte told members of the European parliament on Wednesday.
‘Let me be clear. The current numbers are not sustainable. We are running out of time,’ Rutte said in a speech outlining the Dutch priorities as EU president. ‘We need a sharp reduction in the number of refugees in the coming six to eight weeks.’
‘So it is both logical and necessary that we devote a lot of time and energy to the refugee crisis in the months ahead.’
It is crucial that Europe’s borders are under control, especially in Greece, and that the registration of refugees is sorted out ‘so that every country can play its part’, Rutte said.
In addition, he said, ‘it is crucial that the agreements we made with Turkey late last year are carried out fast, to relieve the pressure on our external borders’.
The Dutch prime minister went on to say that the Netherlands will put the Dutch tradition of consultation and coalition building to good use. ‘Europe doesn’t need new lofty ideals or grand visions. It needs results.’ he said.
‘It needs to deliver. And for that, we first need to follow up on what we’ve agreed. Keeping promises and sticking to agreements should be the new normal in Europe. A deal is a deal.’