Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, right, speaks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Guzmanes Palace in Sanlucar de Barrameda, southern Spain, Saturday Aug. 11, 2018, prior to meetings at the Donana National Park. (AP Photo/Javier Fergo)

Leaders of Germany, Spain pledge united front on migration

August 11, 2018 - 11:12 am

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The leaders of Germany and Spain are bolstering a shared approach to immigration into the European Union amid growing populist opposition to taking in more asylum-seekers.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, meeting Saturday at a country estate in Andalusia, advocated a "fair distribution" of migrants. They said they will promote their common vision at an EU summit next month in Austria.

The two leaders had previously agreed to a deal in which Spain will take back migrants already registered there who try to enter Germany through Austria. That agreement took effect Saturday.

Merkel has been seeking bilateral agreements with Spain, Greece and Italy to stop "secondary" migration to Germany, an issue that nearly took down her government. Negotiations with Greece and Italy are ongoing.

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