Germany Reiterates EU Funding Warning Over Lack of Solidarity for Refugees

Germany warns EU members over migrants
A migrant holds a banner as others show peace signs from a window of a train at the Tovarnik railway station, Croatia September 18, 2015. Migrants continued to stream through fields from Serbia into the European Union on Friday, undeterred by Croatia's closure of almost all road crossings after an influx of more than 11,000. Antonio Bronic/Reuters

Germany has reiterated warnings that countries failing to help with the refugee crisis can't count on continuing to receive money from the European Union.

In an interview with Germany's national daily newspaper Bild, the German economy minister and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said that the split over the response to the continued flow of refugees to Europe poses a significant threat to the bloc.

"If it continues like this, then Europe is in danger, more than it was from the financial crisis or the Greece crisis," Gabriel said. "Europe is a community of values based on human sympathy and solidarity. And those that don't share our values can't count on our money over time," he added.

The minister continued to criticize those "laying barbed wire on their borders and closing the gates," in an apparent reference to Hungary's fence on its border with Serbia.

Gabriel's comments follow those of German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, who told German broadcaster ZDF this week that the country would approve of using EU funding to encourage countries to accept the binding refugee quotas. "The negotiations situation is such that nothing happens to countries which refuse," he said. "We need to talk about ways of exerting pressure. These are often countries that receive a lot of structural funds from the European Union."

Germany has so far made the largest commitment to housing refugees in Europe, but other countries have been more reluctant. Hungary closed its border with Serbia on Tuesday, while Croatia also shut seven out of its eight land border crossings with Serbia two days later.