Merkel tries to ease German worries over refugees

Chancellor says many will return to home countries once safe, promises integration program

Merkel tries to ease German worries over refugees

World Bulletin / News Desk

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday tried to ease public concerns over the number of refugees coming to Germany.

“According to the Geneva Convention we have an obligation to give asylum to those who need international protection,” she told a public meeting in Nuremberg. “But we do not have a task of keeping everyone here for lifetime.”

Merkel faces growing criticism over her government’s open-door policy for asylum seekers and as a record 577,000 refugees arrived in Germany between January and September. Around 1 million are expected by the end of the year.

On Sunday, opinion poll company Emnid put support for Merkel’s coalition at 36 percent, a 3-year low.

Merkel told the meeting, which was streamed live online, that Germany saw a similar refugee intake in the 1990s from the war in the former Yugoslavia but said most refugees later returned home.

“Now the majority of those who come here from Syria are receiving a 3-year limited residence permit,” she said.

“Maybe the Syrian conflict will end in three years and we are working extensively for a solution… Many would like to return and rebuild Syria and we have to support them in that.”

She added: “It is true that there are lots and lots [of refugees] coming here. But we are a population of 80 million. We can achieve integration.”

Economic migrants who do not need protection would be returned to their home countries, she said.

For those with genuine asylum claims, a program of language courses and training would ensure integration into German society.

Germany has taken in the largest number of refugees as Europe experiences the greatest movement of people since World War II, a development that has been exploited by right-wing groups.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Ekim 2015, 10:41