German Chancellor Angela Merkel is refusing to drop her open door migration policy, insisting that the first priority following the terrorist attacks on Paris is to protect “innocent” refugees and restore “hope” to them.
Merkel has come under fire within her own coalition government for her continued support for open borders, following the revelation that at least one of the terrorists involved in the atrocities in Paris on Friday posed as a Syrian refugee in order to gain entry into Europe.
In August of this year Germany ignored European Union rules and threw open her doors to all Syrian refugees, promising them asylum. Hundreds of thousands came. She also urged the UK to follow her example.
But far from backing away from the policy in light of the Paris attack, she has instead hit back at her critics, telling reporters: “We all know that time is running out to return hope to the millions of refugees,” who she described as “innocent” people fleeing war and terrorism, Bloomberg has reported.
Speaking at the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, Mrs Merkel said that the immediate task was to track down those responsible for the attack and hold them to account, saying: “We owe that not only to the victims but also to security in our countries and to the refugees, a large number of whom are fleeing terrorism.”
The summit talks had underscored that the refugee crisis was a global problem, she said, adding: “everyone has a duty to give refugees a home, or at least a temporary home.”
Her refusal to shift her stance on migration policy has created a rift amongst her coalition partners over the last few days. According to Reuters, the Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Soeder, a senior member of Merkel’s sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) turned the screws on Merkel when he told Welt am Sonntag newspaper “The days of uncontrolled immigration and illegal entry can’t continue just like that. Paris changes everything.
“The CSU stands behind the chancellor, but it would be good if Angela Merkel acknowledged that the opening of the border for an unlimited period of time was a mistake.”
His comments were sharply rebuked by Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer, leader of the CSU, who said it was “totally inappropriate” to criticise the Chancellor at a time when democrats should stand united.
On Saturday, in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, the German Federal Government released a statement from Chancellor Merkel in which she said she expected all German citizens to “give a clear and unequivocal response” to the attacks, and that response must be: “Our essential values are humanity, neighbourly love and the joy of fellowship. We believe in the right of every individual to seek happiness and to live their lives, we believe in respect and tolerance. And we know that our free life is stronger than any terrorism.”