Merkel is said to want hundreds of thousands of refugees brought directly from Middle East to control numbers and avoid perilous journeys.
Also on Berlin’s agenda are new European powers replacing some national authority over border control, and the possible raising of a special EU-wide levy to fund the policies.
Under one proposal being circulated in Berlin, the EU would strike pacts with third countries, such as Turkey, agreeing to take large but unspecified numbers of refugees from them directly into Europe. In return, the third country would need to agree on a ceiling or a cap for the numbers it can send to Europe and commit to keeping all other migrants and refugees, and accommodate them humanely. This effectively means Europe would be financing large refugee camps in those third countries, which will also be obliged to take back any refugees who are not granted asylum in Europe.
The plans being developed in Berlin and Brussels also include moves to “Europeanise” control of the EU’s external borders. This would entail national governments surrendering some of their powers on those frontiers and granting at least some authority over refugee admissions, detentions and deportation to EU bodies such as Frontex, the fledgling borders agency.