Monday

5th Dec 2022

Merkel: Attacks won't change refugee policy

  • "I am convinced today as I was before that we can do it," Merkel said (Photo: bundeskanzlerin.de)

German chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday (28 July) rejected calls to change her refugee policies after a recent series of attacks committed by asylum seekers in Germany.

The attackers "shame the country that welcomed them" as well as all the refugees who need protection, she said at a press conference in Berlin.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

She said they wanted to "undermine our sense of community, our openness and our willingness to help people in need".

"We firmly reject this,” she said, adding that Germany would "stick to [its] principles".

Merkel interrupted her holidays to call the press conference in the wake of several attacks that left 10 people dead and more than 40 injured since 18 July.

After a young Afghan man attacked passengers on a train with an axe, a Syrian man killed a woman with a machette and another Syrian man blew himself up in front of a restaurant. In Munich, a German-Iranian born in Germany shot nine people in a fast-food restaurant.

These attacks, as well as the recent ones in France and Turkey, have broken a "taboo of civilisation", because they "happened in places where any of us could have been," Merkel said.

But she refused to link them to her refugee policies

"It doesn't matter whether [the attackers] arrived before or after 4 September," she added, referring to the day last year when she opened Germany's border to refugees.

She said that the attacks, among which two have been claimed by the Islamic State group (IS), were aimed at sowing hatred and fear between cultures and religions.

"We stand decisively against that," she said.

She said her government would do all that is "humanly possible to guarantee freedom and security", but added that is was "not the day" to present new measures against terrorism.

She noted that attackers were not known by police and that an "early alarm system" would need to be established.

Using once again the expression "wir schaffen das" (meaning "we can do it"), which she has used repeatedly since last year, Merkel assured that Germany would not change course.

"I am convinced today as I was before that we can do it," she said, adding that Germany had an "historical mission, an historical challenge in a time of globalisation".

Disappointed by Europe's response

Sticking to her positions, she added that Europe's contribution to solving the refugee crisis was "not yet sufficient".

She in particular noted that the system to share asylum seekers between member states was "not working well".

"I am disappointed by the unwillingness of some in Europe to accept refugees," she said.

Merkel also warned Turkey, a crucial ally in the management of the refugee crisis, against a large-scale crackdown after a failed coup earlier this month.

Mass arrests in the judiciary, army, university and media were a "worrying development", she said, adding that "the principle of proportionality may not always be at the center" of actions by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"It is very important to me that the principle of proportionality must be guaranteed in all circumstances," she said.

Merkel faces backlash after killings

The German chancellor faces mounting criticism at home for her refugee policy after asylum seekers carried out several attacks over the last week.

Germany reels after multiple killings

Support for Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel remains high, but the weekend's multiple attacks against civilians have left German society in shock.

More 'lone wolf' attacks expected, says Germany

German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere said the Afghan teenager who knifed passengers on a train is a "lone wolf" terrorist, with more attacks of the same type likely.

EU dithering aggravated refugee crisis, Merkel says

If EU states, including Germany, had acted earlier and in concert to share burdens and protect external boundaries, the crisis would have been less severe, says the German chancellor.

Under-fire Merkel defends migration policy

The German chancellor sticks by her welcoming policy towards migrants, while a poll suggests more than 50 percent of Germans do not want her to stand for a fourth term in office.

Frontex leadership candidates grilled by MEPs

Terezija Gras from Croatia, Dutchman Hans Leijtens, and Frontex's current interim executive director Aija Kalnaja, are all competing for a job left vacant by the resignation of Fabrice Leggeri.

Sweden says 'no' to EU asylum relocation pledges

Sweden won't make any pledges to relocate asylum seekers under a French-inspired EU plan because there is no legal basis, says Sweden's ambassador to the EU. But Sweden's new right-wing government is also tightening migration rules.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. Hungary's funds showdown in focus This WEEK
  2. EU must break Orbán's veto on a tax rate for multinationals
  3. Belarus dictator's family loves EU luxuries, flight data shows
  4. How Berlin and Paris sold-out the EU corporate due diligence law
  5. Turkey's EU-funded detention centres ripe with abuse: NGO
  6. In green subsidy race, EU should not imitate US
  7. EU Commission proposes suspending billions to Hungary
  8. EU: Russian assets to be returned in case of peace treaty

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022
  2. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  4. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  6. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us