Germany, European Commission mull solidarity tax for refugees - paper

Migrants board trains in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.
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The German government and European Commission are holding informal talks about a type of European solidarity tax to help cover the costs of stemming a record-breaking influx of asylum seekers, a German newspaper reported on Saturday.

The money could be raised through a surcharge on petroleum tax or by increasing Value Added Tax (VAT), the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported without citing its source.

The Munich paper said additional funds from a solidarity tax would be used to help EU member states, such as Spain, Italy, Greece and Bulgaria, secure their borders, as well as to help improve living condition in the home countries of asylum seekers to encourage their citizens to remain there.

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The size of any levy is still open and depends on costs, the paper added.

More than half a million people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa have poured into the European Union this year, prompting bitter disputes over how to react and share out responsibility and costs.

The European Commission has said EU states, whose budgets risk being stretched by the crisis, might get budget relief.

In Germany, which is Europe's biggest recipient of asylum seekers, support for Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives has slipped to its lowest level since May on worries about the refugee influx.

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