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French, German Leaders Urge 'European Response' To Migrant Crisis

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) and French President Emmanuel Macron called for an EU solution (file photo)

The leaders of France and Germany have called for a joint response to the European Union's immigration challenge -- a deeply divisive issue among the bloc's member states.

President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel met on June 19 in Meseberg, near Berlin.

"Our aim remains a European answer to this challenge," Merkel said, following the day-long meeting.

Macron echoed her words, saying that "a European answer" is needed to the challenges that migration poses. He said all 28 EU member states had to be involved.

Both Macron and Merkel highlighted the need for the EU's external borders to be strengthened by boosting the so-called Frontex border and coast-guard agency.

Macron also said Paris and Berlin wanted agreements that would allow EU member states to reject at their borders asylum seekers already registered elsewhere in the bloc -- usually the first port of entry.

The EU has struggled with the surge of migrants from the Middle East, North Africa, and elsewhere, fleeing war and seeking economic stability.

The issue has sharply divided EU member states and helped fuel the rise of populist political movements, many of which are anti-immigrant and xenophobic.

In Germany, the question of how the country should handle migrants has pushed Merkel's governing coalition to the brink of collapse.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa