FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday signalled an openness to study Italy's deal to hold migrants in Albania as the European Union tries to stem illegal immigration.
"Bear in mind that Albania will quite soon, in our view, be a member of the EU, implying that we are talking about the question of how can we jointly solve challenges and problems within the European family," he said in a briefing with reporters in Malaga, Spain.
"Such deals, that have been eyed there, are possible and we will all look at that very closely," he said. On Monday Rome agreed with Albania on the building of two reception and detention camps for sea migrants.
Scholz's briefing, of which Reuters obtained an audio file, was held on the sidelines of a congress of the Party of European Socialists (PES).
Scholz had on Tuesday agreed on a tougher migration policy and new funding for refugees with the heads of Germany's 16 states.
Scholz said a clear European course in migration policy was needed "to correct things that have not been right in the past(and) to establish a solidarity mechanism so that not each country on its own has to try and master the challenges alone."
An overhaul of the bloc's asylum and migration rules should be completed in the current European Parliament legislature, he said.
Scholz also said six western Balkan states that had been promised EU membership 20 years ago should "soon" be integrated.
In addition, Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia should also be given accession perspectives.
He also called for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip to allow humanitarian aid, while defending Israel's right to take action against Hamas.
(Reporting by Andreas Rinke and Vera Eckert; Dditing by David Holmes)