Saturday

24th Jul 2021

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.

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.

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.

News in Brief

  1. Macron changes phone after Pegasus spyware revelations
  2. Italy to impose 'vaccinated-only' entry on indoor entertainment
  3. EU 'will not renegotiate' Irish protocol
  4. Brussels migrants end hunger strike
  5. Elderly EU nationals in UK-status limbo after missed deadline
  6. WHO: 11bn doses needed to reach global vaccination target
  7. EU to share 200m Covid vaccine doses by end of 2021
  8. Spain ends outdoor mask-wearing despite surge

Feature

The exploited Sikh labourers babysitting Italy's buffalos

The migrant workers are exploited (by landlords and dairy-businessmen) like slaves. They work up to 14-hours per day, every single day non-stop without any leave, for barely €400 per month. If they get injured, their bosses hide these incidents.

On board with SOS Méditerranée

Libyan police lieutenant: 'Coast guard are smugglers'

The Libyan coast guard actively works with smugglers and are run by a militia, an ex-Libyan lieutenant police officer. The EU is buying the guard three new P150 high speed patrol boats.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Far left and right MEPs less critical of China and Russia
  2. Why is offshore wind the 'Cinderella' of EU climate policy?
  3. Open letter from 30 embassies ahead of Budapest Pride
  4. Orbán counters EU by calling referendum on anti-LGBTI law
  5. Why aren't EU's CSDP missions working?
  6. Romania most keen to join eurozone
  7. Slovenia risks court over EU anti-graft office
  8. Sweden's gang and gun violence sets politicians bickering

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us