Chancellor Merkel expresses confidence over migrant issue, situation with Turkey | News | DW | 28.08.2016
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Chancellor Merkel expresses confidence over migrant issue, situation with Turkey

Chancellor Angela Merkel has confirmed her confidence in her 'We can do this' commitment to managing the migrant situation. In a television interview, Merkel said European countries needed to do more.

In an interview on Sunday, Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her refugee policy, saying that she had made it clear last year that it would be a big task integrating migrants coming to Germany.

"We have achieved a lot since then and we need to do some more," Merkel told the presenters, referring to her famous slogan, "Wir schaffen das," German for "We can do this."

Chancellor Angela Merkel during the ARD-Interview

Chancellor Angela Merkel during the ARD-Interview

"We are at a completely different position since last year," Merkel said, adding that the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) had thousands of new employees dealing with the newcomers. The government in Berlin is supporting local administrations and state governments in overcoming the crisis. There were new and stricter rules for refugees who could not stay in Germany and migrants were being told they needed to integrate and learn German, Merkel told ARD.

Merkel also addressed the distribution of migrants within Europe, saying that the European Union needed to find a common solution. "Every member must do their share," Merkel said, adding that countries could not just reject migrants because they were Muslims. The bloc also needed to work on an coherent internal security policy and the implementation of the refugee pact with Turkey, the chancellor said.

Migrants waiting at the German-Austrian border last year

Fewer migrants arrived in Germany last year than previously assumed, according to latest statistics

Chancellor Merkel emphasized the bloc's discussions with Britain on the latter's exit from the European Union, saying that the Brexit was a break from the past and member states needed to think about a solution in peace. "We all agree in the European Union that Britain's exit, the result of the referendum, will have a big impact … Rather than rushing into activities, we should perhaps first take time to think about what we, as the 27 countries, must do better."

Conflicts abroad

Merkel also referred to her statement regarding the loyalty of Germany's Turkish citizens. "I keep saying that I'm their chancellor too and I think it's important to profess that and it's good if that is reciprocated by commitment to our country and not by bringing conflicts from Turkey to Germany," she said.

Pressure has mounted among Germany's Turks following a failed coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July. His backers have demonstrated in several German cities, where supporters of the Gülen movement are believed to coexist. Fethullah Gülen, who runs a movement spanning businesses and academia, lives in exile in the US and is accused of having orchestrated the coup.

The chancellor also addressed the Ukraine crisis, lamenting the fact that the Minsk Pact had not been adhered to. Sanctions against Russia would remain in place, considering the situation in eastern Ukraine, Merkel said. However, she emphasized that the bloodbath in Syria had to be stopped and that this could only be done through discussion. There was no military solution to it.

Merkel evaded all questions regarding her candidacy for a fourth term as chancellor, saying she would make an announcement when the time was right. A new poll conducted by the survey company Emnid, says that half of Germans oppose the chancellor seeking another term.

mg/jlw (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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