The German Chancellor said the EU would be “called into question” if leaders cannot prevent another potential migration crisis this summer.
European summers, since 2015, have been dominated by a sharp rise in people travelling from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe in order to claim asylum to escape war-torn countries and persecution.
Jean-Claude Juncker’s European Commission has vowed to show “solidarity” with refugees arriving in Europe and urged countries to accept them with open arms.
Mrs Merkel has been largely criticised for her open-door policy which has drawn significant negativity on her leadership.
Ministers from the EU28, last week, met in Luxembourg to discuss the Bulgarian EU presidency’s proposed reform to the Dublin Regulation.
At least a dozen countries rejected reforms to the regulation, which decides what EU state is responsible for processing an asylum seeker, under the current process refugees must register in the country they first arrive.
With the deal looking set to collapse, Mrs Merkel held out a slight hope of its saviour.
She said: “I think it’s better that we should try for a few more weeks to find a common solution, because this is such an important subject for the European Union.”
And it remains an important subject for the German Chancellor, who is keen to avoid a repeat of 2015 when the a summer of mass migration to Europe prompted huge cracks to appear across the EU on how to handle the situation.
Speaking to German MEPs, Mrs Merkel stressed the importance of finding a fix in order to prevent the Brussels project from coming under scrutiny.
Mrs Merkel said: “If we fail to provide a common answer to questions of illegal migration, the foundations of the European Union will be called into question.
“Action is really needed here.”
She warned the freedom of movement and the bloc’s internal markets would face peril unless a solution is found.
Last week, Belgium’s migration minister made a shock statement similar to the German’s, commenting on the threat to the EU.
Theo Francken said: “First we have to fix the front door, fix the back door, and then we can find a compromise on who is doing what.”
He added “Europe will end” unless Brussels can implement a “solution” in order to stop a “massive influx” of refugees.