Sunday

25th Aug 2019

Merkel: Germany needs to reduce number of refugees

  • Merkel: "Even a strong country like Germany is on the long term is overstrained by such a large number of refugees." (Photo: CDU)

German chancellor Angela Merkel tried on Monday (14 December) to maintain her authority and reconcile her migration policy with her own party's demands for change.



In a speech to the Christian-Democrat Union's (CDU) congress in Karlsruhe, she said she wants to "noticeably reduce the number of refugees" coming to Germany, but she stopped short from mentioning an "upper limit" on the number of migrants.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"Even a strong country like Germany is in the long term overstrained by such a large number of refugees," Merkel said.

A curb in Germany's refugee policy is "in Germany's and Europe's interest, and in the interest of refugees," she added.

Her words had been agreed on Sunday ahead of the congress, to avoid a public row between herself and party ranks more hostile to large numbers of refugees being welcomed in Germany.

Last week, German authorities said that 965,000 people have been registered as asylum seekers so far this year. According to estimates made in August, Germany expected around 800,000 for the whole year.

'Practical test'

On Sunday, the leader of the CDU youth branch Paul Ziemiak said that not setting a cap on the number of refugees would be "careless" because "Germany's possibilities are finite".

His words echoed declarations from other party officials as well as a majority of German public opinion.

"There are objective limits" to what Germany can do in terms of Kindergarten, apartments and languages courses, said Reiner Haseloff, the minister-president of the Land of Saxe-Anhalt.

According to an opinion poll published over the weekend by Bild, the tabloid newspaper that has supported Merkel's refugee policy, 62 percent of Germans are now in favour of an "upper limit" on the number of refugees.

In her speech, Merkel defended once again her action.

Receiving all the refugees coming to Germany was "no more and no less than a humanitarian imperative," she told party delegates.

"Germany is a strong country," Merkel added. "We'll make it, for Germany and for Europe," she said, using once again the motto - "Wir schaffen das" - she used several time since August.

The chancellor also insisted that the refugee crisis is not only a challenge for Germany, but "a practical test for Europe," she said.

"I am sure it will pass it. Even when what we do is endlessly exhausting," she assured.

The chancellor explained that the situation will improve only if the EU can take common measures at all levels of the migration crisis.

She mentioned the strengthening of EU borders and the setting up of hotspots in Italy and Greece; the fight against root causes of migration, in Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan; the humanitarian and development aid; and cooperation with Turkey.

Schengen is 'vital'

While Germany has reintroduced border controls in the Autumn to face the crisis, Merkel reaffirmed her commitment to the Schengen free-travel area.

No country is as dependent on Schengen as Germany," she said adding that the area was "of vital importance" for the country.

Looking at the events of recent months, from the Paris attacks in January and November to the migrant crisis, from the German Wings disaster in March to the continuing war in Ukraine or the Greek crisis, Merkel said the year has been "unbelievable".

"Such an intensity, such a succession of events, like I had never experienced," the chancellor said.

At the end of her 1-hour long speech, criticised but still unchallenged, Merkel received a standing ovation for several minutes.

Open Arms may face fine in Spain 

Open Arms may face a fine of up to €901,000 for doing "search and rescue" without authorisation, but rescuing people who are shipwrecked is a legal duty, the NGO says.

News in Brief

  1. Ocean Viking to disembark in Malta after ordeal
  2. Germany joins France in world outcry on Brazil fires
  3. British people lose faith in Brexit deal
  4. Brexit hardliners want further changes to EU deal
  5. German manufacturers confirm fear of recession
  6. Belgian socialists and liberals scrap over EU post
  7. Fall in EU migration leading to UK skills shortages
  8. Switzerland makes post-Brexit flight preparations

Analysis

Pentagon: ISIS is resurgent in Syria

The US department of defence warns that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is working on a come back in Syria. It is regrouping and supporting activities. This might trigger a new refugee displacement to Europe.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Spain heading for yet another general election
  2. EU to discuss Brazil beef ban over Amazon fires
  3. 'Our house is burning,' Macron says on Amazon fires
  4. What happens when trafficking survivors get home
  5. EU states and Russia clash on truth of WW2 pact
  6. EU considers new rules on facial recognition
  7. EU to pledge Africa security funds at G7 summit
  8. Letter from the EESC on per diem article

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  4. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  7. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  12. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us