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Reports: Merkel Secures Agreement From 14 EU States On Returning Asylum Seekers


German Chancellor Angela Merkel

News reports say German Chancellor Angela Merkel has gained support from 14 fellow European Union members for a new agreement on migrants seeking asylum in the EU.

The agreement aims to have countries take back asylum seekers who had previously registered elsewhere in the 28-member bloc.

The agreements were revealed in a letter sent by Merkel to leaders of her two coalition partners, news agencies that saw the document reported on June 30.

But leaders of three of the countries named -- Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland -- all vehemently denied any such agreement.

"Germany did not approach us and, in this moment, I would not ratify such an agreement.... We are not planning negotiations. There is no reason to negotiate. We decisively reject this," Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis was quoted as saying.

Merkel wrote in the document that asylum seekers who arrive in Germany after first registering in other EU member states should be placed in special centers inside the EU to process asylum requests.

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, the leader of Bavaria's Christian Social Union, has given Merkel a July deadline to halt the flow of migrants into the country or be confronted with the possible collapse of her coalition government, and the leadership was reportedly meeting late on June 30 to decide its response.

The other countries included on the list are Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden.

Based on reporting by Reuters and dpa
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