Tuesday

5th Jul 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.

News in Brief

  1. Turkey signs Nato protocol despite Sweden extradition row
  2. European gas production hit by Norway strike
  3. EU Commission told to step up fight against CAP fraud
  4. Ukraine needs €719bn to rebuild, says PM
  5. Germany records first monthly trade deficit since 1991
  6. Pilots from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden strike
  7. Report: EU to sign hydrogen deal with Namibia
  8. Israel and Poland to mend relations

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. 'World is watching', as MEPs vote on green finance rules
  2. Turkey sends mixed signals on Sweden's entry into Nato
  3. EU Parliament sued over secrecy on Nazi MEP expenses
  4. Italy glacier tragedy has 'everything to do' with climate change
  5. The Digital Services Act — a case-study in keeping public in dark
  6. Report slams German opposition to new child sexual abuse rules
  7. Is China a challenge to Nato? Beijing responds
  8. ECB announces major green shift in corporate bond-buying

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us