Angela Merkel has refused to budge on her refugee policy despite Islamist terror attacks in Würzburg and Ansbach that have sparked urgent calls for a U-turn on immigration.
On Thursday the German chancellor repeated her phrase from a year ago — “we can do this” — and insisted the country could cope with the 1m migrants who entered last year and integrate them fully into society.
Ms Merkel dismissed a suggestion that the phrase seemed “thoughtless” in view of the jihadi attacks this month. “I never said it would be easy,” she said. “But I’m just as convinced now as I was then that we will cope . . . and we will live up to this historic task.”
She also put forward a nine-point plan to beef up security, including lower hurdles for deporting failed asylum-seekers, an early warning system to flag those becoming radicalised and exercises between the army and police to prepare for terror attacks.
Ms Merkel was speaking after a week of violence that has plunged Germany into a mood of uncertainty and fear. Her comments were made at an annual summer press conference that was brought forward from August to address the terror wave.
The violence has raised concerns that Germany compromised its security by opening its borders last summer to hundreds and thousands of people, many of them from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Some are asking whether the authorities, who do not have the same experience battling terrorism as counterparts in France, the UK and Belgium have a grip on security.
Horst Seehofer, the prime minister of Bavaria and a staunch opponent of Ms Merkel’s refugee policy, said he had been vindicated by the attacks. “All our prophecies have been proved right,” he said.