A main priority of the Dutch presidency of the European Union will be to stem the flow of migrants coming into Europe considerably, prime minister Mark Rutte told a news conference on Thursday.
Rutte was speaking at the official launch of the Dutch presidency alongside European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.
Asked what the Dutch presidency’s aims were in terms of refugees, Rutte said: ‘We have to stem the flow of migrants coming into Europe considerably. The numbers have to come down a lot.’
Secondly, the Netherlands is keen to ensure the burden of caring for refugees is shared fairly between member states. And thirdly ‘we have to make sure every member state has sufficient reception facilities,’ he said.
‘We cannot continue with the present numbers,’ Rutte said.
During the press conference, Juncker said he is convinced that effective EU border and coastguard control will be put in place under the Dutch presidency. ‘The right answer to the migration crisis is not the closing of borders,’ he said.
Members of the European Commission are in Amsterdam on Thursday for the kick off event. They will have lunch with king Willem-Alexander and queen Máxima at the palace on Dam square and then head to The Hague to meet MPs and senators.
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