“For us that means: show your face, therefore the full-body veil is not appropriate, it should be banned,” Merkel told the annual congress of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Essen.
Making her pitch to be renominated as CDU candidate for national elections in autumn, it was the strongest opposition the Chancellor had yet voiced to the conservative Muslim clothing being worn in public.
There was considerable anticipation of how delegates at the conference would receive Merkel’s comments on the refugee influx, which had created controversy within the party ranks.
Merkel also defended how the government had acted at the time, saying refugees “were taken in as individual people and not as an anonymous mass.”
Critics of the open-door policy, among others the Alternative for Germany (AfD), have often repeated the accusation that Germany took in immigrants en masse without checking who they were.
Without mentioning the upstart AfD by name, Merkel said Germany must remain “sceptical about easy answers”.
“The world is not black and white,” she said. “Rarely is it the easy answers that bring progress to our country.”