German President Urges United States to Welcome Syrian Refugees

henry smith
AP Photo/Ronald Zak

German President Joachim Gauck visited the White House today, signaling to President Obama that his country would continue to be open to Syrian refugees. He also urged the United States to remain open to the possibility of welcoming more refugees.

“Germany, because of its history, is a country that shows great readiness to allow these people into its country to offer asylum for these people in dire need,” he said.

Gauck described the influx of refugees into Europe as a “burning issue” and a “major humanitarian challenge” facing his country and reminded Obama that he wanted the United States to understand the seriousness of the issue.

“I also have the sincere hope and wish that we may succeed in finding a solution on the one hand for these people who are fleeing their country, but also a solution that will allow us to tackle the problem at its root causes,” he said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has signaled openness to Syrian refugees, as estimates shows that up to 1.5 million migrants will enter Germany in 2015.

Her eagerness to welcome refugees, however, has sparked criticism from political opponents, as her approval ratings have dropped by nine points to 54 percent, her lowest in nearly four years.