German Chancellor says everybody must contribute to addressing asylum-seeker issue
Speaking last Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized EU Member States who do not want to accept Muslim asylum-seekers. The Czech Republic is one of them.
In an interview for the German television station ARD, Merkel said a common solution for all must be found within the EU framework and that each Member State must fulfill its part. "It will not do, however, for some countries to say they generally do not want Muslims and that it's all the same to them whether humanitarian reasons necessitate accepting them," Merkel said.
The Chancellor advocates for a system in which migrants would be redistributed among EU Member States according to prescribed quotas. The Czech Republic and other countries of the so-called Visegrad Four (i.e., Hungary, Poland and Slovakia), reject such a system.
"I think we must find a common solution and each will have to contribute to it," Merkel said on 29 August when asked whether she believes a quota system will ultimately be implemented. "It remains to be seen how balanced each part [of the consensus] will be."
The Associated Press interpreted that last remark to mean there could be an option for some countries to accept fewer migrants in exchange for contributing more money to the effort. Last Thursday the Chancellor visited the Czech Republic and exchanged views with Czech politicians about the current migration crisis.
The German press assessed her trip to various Central European countries as a "Mission Impossible" in terms of attempts to bring those countries closer to Germany on the question of how to address the migration crisis. Germany is among the main destinations of the current wave of asylum-seekers into Europe, and the German Government's friendly migration policy has contributed to that and has recently been criticized.
Last year approximately one million refugees arrived in Germany, but this year the Federal Authority for Migration anticipates a maximum of 300 000 people. Merkel has also called on Turks living in Germany to integrate into society and not bring conflicts from Turkey into Germany.
Roughly three million Turks now live in Germany. "I've said it before and I'll say it again: I am their [Turks living in Germany] Chancellor too, and I think it is
important that we all admit this. When they reciprocate by committing to our country instead of by moving conflicts from Turkey into Germany, that will be good," Merkel said.
The Chancellor recently gave an interview to the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper urging German Turks to show a high degree of loyalty to Germany. The opposition in Germany said her remarks were unnecessarily dividing society at a time when relations between Ankara and Berlin are tense.
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