• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Merkel: Migrants bigger challenge than Greece

AFP/DPA/The Local · 17 Aug 2015, 11:22

Published: 17 Aug 2015 09:03 GMT+02:00
Updated: 17 Aug 2015 11:22 GMT+02:00

Asked about more than 200 arson attacks against homes for asylum-seekers seen in Germany this year as the country faces a record influx of refugees, Merkel said: "That is unworthy of our country."

Merkel warned that waves of refugees would "preoccupy Europe much, much more than the issue of Greece and the stability of the euro". 

"The issue of asylum could be the next major European project, in which we show whether we are really able to take joint action," she told ZDF public television in the first of a series of traditional "summer interviews" with leading politicians.

For Germany, where some officials have said the number of asylum-seekers could top 600,000 this year, Merkel said the issue posed particular challenges.

With thousands of refugees sleeping in tents and authorities saying they are overwhelmed with applications, Merkel said the current situation was "absolutely unsatisfactory".

She called for the European Union to establish a list of safe countries of origin, where citizens are not under threat of violence or persecution.

Last week Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said it was "unacceptable" that 40 percent of asylum-seekers in his country were from the Balkans, calling it "an embarrassment for Europe".

About half of Germany's 300,000 asylum applications since January have come from the southeast European region that includes Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

Story continues below…

The federal government's new tone chimes with demands coming from politicians in the German states which have seen the most asylum seekers arriving, such as Bavaria.

"The grants for [asylum seekers from the Balkans] are an imposition on German taxpayers," Bavarian interior minister Joachim Hermann told Die Welt on Monday, adding that they were drawing people who didn't need protection to come to Germany.
 
Germany "has the job of preventing hopeless asylum applications" from people coming out of safe countries, MEP and Serbia expert David McAllister of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) told Bild on Monday.

Berlin is looking at ways to deter such claims in order to better serve people from crisis zones such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The UN refugee agency has said the number of people driven from their homes by conflict and crisis has topped 50 million for the first time since World War II, with Syrians hardest hit.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
Munich pulls together after shopping mall shooting
Photo: DPA

In the chaos after the Munich mall shooting, city residents spontaneously offered shelter to strangers - a move that Chancellor Angela Merkel said showed that Germany's strength lies in its values.

Merkel deplores 'night of horror' in Munich
Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday said Munich had suffered a "night of horror" after a shooting spree in the southern German city left nine people dead.

Munich shooting
Munich attacker was shy video game fan
People laying flowers at the site of the shootings. Photo: DPA.

David Ali Sonboly was a quiet, helpful teenager who loved playing video games. His neighbours say there were no warning signs before his deadly rampage at a Munich shopping mall.

Munich shooting
Munich gunman inspired by rightwing Breivik: police
Photo: DPA

The lone teenager who shot dead nine people in a gun rampage in Munich was "obsessed" with mass killers such as Norwegian rightwing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik and had no links to the Islamic State group, police said Saturday.

Munich shooting
Turks, Kosovans and a Greek among shooting victims
Photo: DPA

Three Turkish citizens were among the nine people killed in Germany's Munich mall shooting. Three Kosovans were also among the nine victims.

Munich shooting
Munich gunman was likely not Isis terrorist: police
Flowers laid at the Olympia Shopping Centre underground station. Photo: DPA

According to initial investigations by Munich police, the young man who went on a shooting rampage in Munich on Friday evening was a lone gunman without motive, not a terrorist.

Munich shooting
'Lone' Munich shooter kills nine, commits suicide
Photo: DPA

A teenage German-Iranian gunman who killed nine people in a shooting spree at a busy Munich shopping centre and then committed suicide had likely acted alone, German police said Saturday.

As it happened
Nine dead in shooting rampage in Munich
File photo: DPA

Nine people are dead after "at least one person" went on a shooting spree in a Munich shopping centre on Friday evening. An attacker is believed to be among the dead.

German Turkish community split by unrest after coup plot
Pro-Erdogan protesters in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Hatred between supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and those opposed to him has exploded on social media in Germany in the wake of a failed coup attempt last Friday.

Germany stresses defence of Baltics after Trump comments
Photo: DPA

Germany on Friday stressed its promise to protect its NATO allies after White House hopeful Donald Trump called the commitment into question.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Analysis & Opinion
Nice was an attack on France, not on Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
10,808
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd