Migration challenge is make-or-break for EU, says Merkel

 The European Union’s fate rests on its ability to rise to the challenges of the migration debate, Chancellor Angela Merkel told the German parliament on Thursday ahead of a crunch summit in Brussels that will be dominated by the matter.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses the German lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Christian Mang
In a passionate address to the Bundestag, an embattled Merkel tried to win over critics from within her own ranks, defending her 2015 decision to open Germany’s doors to a million migrants as a necessary step of help to its neighbours.
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Calling for refugee harbouring agreements with African countries mirroring those that the EU sealed with Turkey, Merkel told a rowdy legislature that with falling migrant numbers, the tighter immigration controls of before 2015 must be re- European shares succumbed once again to trade tensions and political concerns on Thursday ahead of a tense European Union summit after the stock market enjoyed a brief respite from selling in the previous session.
Main WSE index WIG20 is seen at the Stock Exchange in Warsaw, Poland June 1, 2018. Picture taken June 1, 2018. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.1 percent by 0725 GMT, while Germany's trade-sensitive DAX .GDAXI managed a 0.1 percent gain.
Financials and mining shares were the biggest drags on the market, while high dividend-paying consumer staples stocks such as Nestle (NESN.S) and Unilever (ULVR.L), considered safer in times of market stress, made gains.
The pan-European banks sector .SX7P fell 0.3 percent, extending its sharp losses this week with HSBC (HSBA.L), UBS (UBSG.S) and Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) among the biggest fallers. Miners .SXPP declined 0.6 percent.
Oil stocks outperformed after crude prices hit a 3 1/2 year high on unplanned supply disruptions and record demand. The oil sector .SXEP has been the best-performing in the region this year, up 10.5 percent year-to-date.
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In big single-stock movers, H&M (HMb.ST) shares fell 3.4 percent after the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer reported a slightly bigger fall than expected in second-quarter pretax profit and flagged higher markdown levels in the third quarter after inventories grew again.
French utility Suez (SEVI.PA) declined 3.4 percent after Berenberg cut its rating on the stock to hold from buy.
UK-listed South African stocks Investec (INVP.L), Old Mutual Limited (OMU.L) and Mediclinic (MDCM.L) were among the biggest fallers, dented by a decline in the rand ZAR=.established.
“Europe faces many challenges, but that of migration could become the make-or-break one for the EU,” she concluded.
“Either we manage it, so others in Africa believe that we are guided by values and believe in multilateralism, not unilateralism, or nobody will believe any longer in the system of values that has made us strong,” she said. “That’s why it’s so important.”