German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the German parliament in Berlin, Thursday, ahead of a vote on a new legislative package regarding refugees. During her speech Merkel described the refugee and migrant crisis as a "historic test," and said that "only joint action on all levels is the way to fairly fulfill demands of the globalised and digital age." Merkel went on to outline the new refugee laws, the parliament was set to vote on during the session. State and local authorities are to receive financial support by the federation, application procedures will be accelerated and Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro will be classified as 'safe home countries' to pave the way for a faster rejection of unjustified asylum applications. Out of 600 votes, 475 members voted yes, 68 voted no, and 57 abstained. Merkel also commented on the United Kingdom's referendum on EU membership, saying "there are achievements of European integration that cannot be bargained over, like the principle of free movement and the principle of non-discrimination." Remaining optimistic, the German chancellor said: "I am convinced that we will be able to find a sustainable compromise. I would like to keep the UK as an active partner in a strong European Union."
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