Merkel: Europe still ‘hasn’t done homework’ on refugees
Chancellor Angela Merkel said she did the right thing by allowing large numbers of migrants into Germany two years ago and that Europe hasn’t done enough to develop long-term solutions to the migration crisis since then. A day after discussing the continuing influx of migrants with leaders from Africa and other European countries, Merkel tackled head-on an issue that once looked as if it would be a liability for her in Germany’s 24 September election. Recent polls suggest the chancellor’s popularity has returned to levels from before 2015, when the refugee crisis reached its peak. They show Merkel’s conservative bloc leading by 13-17 points over her main challenger, Martin Schulz of the center-left Social Democrats. Neither does a nationalist party that expanded its appeal with rhetoric highly critical of Merkel’s welcoming attitude toward migrants appear poised to produce change at the top. Alternative for Germany, or AfD, appears set to enter parliament next month, but its poll numbers have fallen well below where they stood after nearly 1 million migrants arrived in Germany in 2015. Since then, Merkel’s government has tightened asylum procedures and implemented other measures, and the influx has receded.