German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she expects to deport 100,000 migrants from Germany next year, in a sharp reversal of policy.
The Chancellor, who welcomed “no upper limit” of migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa last year, said Saturday: “It can not be that all the young people from Afghanistan come to Germany.”
“The most important thing in the coming months is repatriation, repatriation and once more, repatriation”, she added.
The startling change of tone came at conference of conservative MPs in Neumünster yesterday, just days after she announced she would be seeking a fourth terms as Chancellor.
According to Handelsblatt, Mrs. Merkel said she expects a third of the deportations to be forced or compulsorily, and around 60,000 migrants to return to their home nations via voluntary repatriation programs.
“If state governments refuse to forcibly deport migrants, then of course everyone will say, ‘I will not do this voluntarily, because they will not do anything anyway’”, she explained.
The change comes after Mrs. Merkel’s Christian Democrat Party (CDU) suffered their worst election result ever in the German capital of Berlin this September.
Meanwhile, Alternative for Germany (AfD), an insurgent, anti-mass migration populist party, has been making significant gains. They currently poll at around 14 per cent of the vote in the notorious liberal and ‘diverse’ city.
Announcing her plans to hold on to power this week, the Chancellor said she would stand at the “anti-populist” candidate in the up-and-coming election.
“The AfD is challenging me, of course,” she admitted, but insisted she was “already part of the solution.”
The Chancellor was harshly criticised last year, when more than a million illegal migrants walked into Germany, unchecked and uncontrolled.
At the beginning of September 2016, shortly before the Berlin elections, the Chancellor appeared to acknowledge her “open door” policy had been mistake and may have encouraged the migrant influx into Europe.
“We didn’t embrace the problem in an appropriate way. That goes as well for protecting the external border of the Schengen area”, the German Chancellor said in an interview, one year after the peak of the migrant crisis.
However, she also blamed other EU nations for not acting quickly enough to tackle the problem she helped to create. “In Germany we ignored the problem for too long and blocked out the need to find a pan-European solution”.
When asked if Germany was complacent after years of welcoming migrants from other nations, she said: “I cannot deny that.”