Merkel: Europe still ‘hasn’t done home­work’ on refugees

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

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.

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