Angela Merkel claims that the European Union still has a “responsibility” to take in more so-called refugees, and pleaded to Islamic governments to help convince people that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam.
The 62-year-old German chancellor began her speech by acknowledging that “the European Union right now is in a very difficult situation due to the result of the British referendum … which is very regrettable”.
While calling on the bloc “to do more to integrate our military capacity”, she also confessed it could not fight terrorism without U.S. president Donald Trump’s assistance.
“Let me address this very openly. The Europeans alone could not cope with fighting international Islamist terrorism. We need the strength and the power of the United States of America, and their support,” she said.
“I say this because the external borders of the European Union, in a way, are the border that actually separates us from Islamist terrorism, and that very much has an influence on Europe.
“So co-operation with the United States of America is most important for us, but what’s also very important to me is that Islamist, Muslim states have been incorporated in this coalition, because I think those countries, first and foremost, have to give a contribution.”
According to Chancellor Merkel, however, working with such states is the only way “we will be able to convince people that it is not Islam that is the problem, but a falsely understood Islam, and the religious authorities of Islam have to find strong language in order to delineate themselves and distance themselves from this fundamentalist and terrorist [version of] Islam.”
“We cannot do this, we Christians,” she said. “It has to be done by the Islamist clergy and by the religious authorities.”
Having claimed that Western institutions have no authority to tackle extremist ideology, however, the chancellor went on to insist that Europe does still have a duty to absorb more migrants.
“We have a responsibility. The European Union has a responsibility to bear, accepting those refugees.
“Just think, Cyprus, after all, is a neighbouring state to Syria, so you see the external borders of the Union are the borders that separate us from those areas where people amass in great numbers … [W]e cannot simply say it’s got nothing to do with us; we have to deal with this issue.”
Cyprus does not in fact share a land border with Syria, being an island nation some 315 miles from the Syrian coast.