German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Greece and Italy alone cannot bear the burden of refugees alone because of their geographic position. She defended her Open Borders policy in 2015 and said that the Dublin System has overburdened these two Mediterranean countries. She renewed her campaign pledge that Germany “should never again witness” such an emergency.
In an interview to German conservative newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Merkel said “I would make all of the important decisions of 2015 the same way again,” Merkel said reiterating her conviction that there was a humanitarian need to open the border when a record influx of refugees made their way through southern and eastern Europe to Germany that year.
Part of the problem in the buildup to the 2015 crisis is that Mediterranean countries such as Greece and Italy were too often left alone by other European Union countries to deal with refugees arriving from outside the EU.
In the years prior to the refugee crisis, she admitted too much to the Dublin system, “which has overburdened countries such as Italy and Greece”. The old Dublin system was no longer viable.
“It can not be that Greece or Italy alone have to bear the burdens simply because their geographic location is what it is and refugees land there,” the Chancellor siad. The refugees had to be distributed in solidarity to the EU Member States. In 2015 an emergency situation had occurred, “which we should never experience again, even the people seeking refuge, so again,” Merkel continued. At that time, a humanitarian catastrophe had been avoided.
Commenting on German media reports, according to which asylum seekers made holidays in their home countries, Merkel said “It cannot happen that one makes holidays in the country one is being persecuted.” If this is the case, “it may be an occasion to review the asylum decision again,” the Chancellor warned.
Merkel made her comment just four weeks before Germany’s election on September 24,despite the fact that the record influx of refugees has drained votes from German mainstream parties.
Merkel’s open-borders stance depressed her approval ratings last year and spurred the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany party after a record number of 980,000 asylum seekers, many of them fleeing war in Syria, arrived in Germany in 2015, Bloomberg notes.
Merkel’s poll numbers rebounded as the influx ebbed to 280,000 last year, restricted by border closures along the so-called Balkan route and a refugee accord between the EU and Turkey. Some 106,000 asylum seekers arrived in the first seven months of 2017, led by Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans, according to German Interior Ministry figures.
PS Apparently, Merkel is not aware that Germany has been pushing for return of refugees to Greece, it has already submitted 400 returns applications and the refugees are soon to pack their things and return to the first country they entered European Union from, that is Greece.
In my village we call it “doublespeak.”