18th Mar 2018

Merkel vows to win back voters, sticks to migration policy

  • AfD is only three-years old, but has won seats in 9 out of 16 German regional parliaments (Photo: Reuters)

German chancellor Angela Merkel has vowed to "win back the trust" of voters after a shock defeat in regional elections, but refused to back down on her policy of welcoming refugees.

“I consider the fundamental decisions as right, but there is much to be done to win back trust and the topic of integration will play a huge role, as well as the repatriation of those who don't gain residency rights,” she said on Monday (5 September) at a press conference at the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

She spoke after the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party won 21 percent of the votes in Sunday’s elections in the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern region, beating Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party (CDU) by two points.

"I am the party chair. I am the chancellor. In the eyes of the people, this cannot be separated, and therefore I am of course also responsible," Merkel said.

She defended her government's actions in reducing the number of asylum seekers entering the country, and in giving support to local government in handling the crisis.

With general elections just a year from now, AfD is emerging as a threat to Merkel’s authority, as it polls above 12 percent nationwide.

Germany let in almost 1 million people last year and, this summer, suffered a series of terrorist attacks, with AfD riding a wave of popular fear and scepticism.

The party's co-chair Beatrix von Storch hailed Sunday’s result as “the beginning of the end of the Merkel era”, AFP reported.

Merkel has also come under fire from her Social Democrat coalition partners, who won the regional election with 30 percent.

The SPD leader and vice-chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, has systematically attacked Merkel’s motto of “we can do it” on refugees.

“It’s not good enough to just say 'we can do it' and leave the work to others”, he said after Sunday’s result.

CDU party leaders said Germany needs more time to adjust to the changes.

“It’ll take time before all our measures work, and it’ll take time before the trust we have lost can be won back,” the party's general secretary Peter Tauber said on Monday.

AfD has promised to take Germany out of the euro if it wins next year.

But the rise of the group, now the strongest right-wing party in Germany since World War II, has worried some Jewish leaders in broader terms.

"The fact that a right-wing extremist party that agitates and mobilises against minorities in a disgustingly blunt manner can rise in such an unbridled way is a nightmare come true," Charlotte Knobloch, the former head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the DPA news wire.

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.

Merkel warns German parties against populism

The German chancellor, in her first speech since the bruising defeat of her party to anti-immigrant AfD over the weekend, defended her migrant-welcome policy.

Evacuated women from Libya arrive newly-pregnant

Niger has temporarily stopped all evacuations from Libya detention centres under an EU funded programme because so few are being resettled to Europe. Many of those that have been evacuated are pregnant, with some asking for HIV testing.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden emerges as possible US-North Korean summit host
  2. Google accused of paying academics backing its policies
  3. New interior minister: 'Islam doesn't belong to Germany'
  4. Hamburg 'dieselgate' driver wins case to get new VW car
  5. Slovak deputy PM asked to form new government
  6. US, Germany, France condemn 'assault on UK sovereignty'
  7. MEPs accept Amsterdam as seat for EU medicines agency
  8. Auditors: EU farm 'simplification' made subsidies more complex

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceConmtroversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  2. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  5. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  7. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  8. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  9. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?
  10. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  11. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  12. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework

Latest News

  1. Brexit and trade will top This WEEK
  2. Dutch MPs in plan to shut EU website on Russian propaganda
  3. Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea
  4. Evacuated women from Libya arrive newly-pregnant
  5. Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks
  6. Commission rejects ombudsman criticism over Barroso case
  7. Western allies back UK amid Russian media blitz
  8. Meet the European Parliament's twittersphere