(Adds Merkel quotes)
BERLIN, Sept 1 (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday refugees should be distributed across the European Union according to member states’ ability to receive them, as part of a strategy to cope with Europe’s unprecedented migration crisis.
“For those refugees who are being persecuted or have fled war, there should be a fair distribution in Europe based on the economic strength, productivity and the size of each country,” Merkel said at a joint press conference with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
Merkel and Rajoy both said the European Commission should do more to help resolve the crisis, including providing a list of safe countries of origin so that it is easier to determine whether migrants have valid claims of asylum.
“We agree that the Commission should define safe countries of origin, that European countries should join forces to help Italy and Greece open registration centres and that those who have no right to stay go back to their countries of origin,” said Merkel.
Rajoy said: “There are two things we must say clearly - the European Commission must say, identify what are the safe countries of origin ... and we need to work towards a certain harmonisation in future.” (Reporting by Michelle Martin and Madeline Chambers; Editing by Peter Graff)