German Chancellor Angela Merkel has centred her electoral campaign on developing long-term solutions to the migrant crisis. EURACTIV Spain reports.
Merkel is seeking her fourth mandate in an uneventful campaign, which appears already settled in her favour.
Opening Germany’s borders to refugees in 2015 following the humanitarian crisis was the “right” decision, Chancellor Merkel said during the traditional summer press conference on Tuesday (29 August).
In her opinion, it is time to tackle the migrant crisis, with a particular role for transit countries.
Merkel opened the press conference discussing the plan by France, Germany, Italy, Libya, Chad and Niger to control the flow of migrants and reminded that “no one can solve this alone”.
Helping source countries
“We can’t keep our isolation towards the migration phenomenon. We have to help on the ground, in source countries, so that people are not forced to leave,” she said before declaring that Europe had not acted with the necessary solidarity and cohesion on this humanitarian emergency.
The refugee crisis has left its mark on her third and now concluding mandate, in which Merkel was heavily criticised – including from her own Christian Democrats (CDU) – for having opened Germany’s borders while other European countries were closing them.
Since 2015 Germany received 1.3 million refugees.
Merkel reacted by mediating the deal between Turkey and the EU to halt the arrival of regudees, and ensuring the quick repatriation of migrants who did not meet the criteria to stay.
Germany keeps receiving 15,000 refugees per month and Turkey’s relations with Germany are at peak tension.
“I wish they could be better, but I am realistic,” the chancellor said, and repeated her request that Ankara frees German citizens held in Turkey “without justification”.