Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed on Wednesday to stick to her open-door refugee policy, defying criticism at home and abroad which has intensified due to growing fears about a potential security risk after the Islamist attacks in Paris.
Conservative Merkel faces splits in her right-left coalition and pressure from EU states, including France, over her insistence that Germany can cope with up to 1 million migrants this year and that Europe must accept quotas to take them in.
In a 40-minute speech to the Bundestag lower house of parliament, Merkel said the security threat level in Germany was high but insisted that people must carry on with normal life.
“The strongest response to terrorists is to carry on living our lives and our values as we have until now — self-confident and free, considerate and engaged,” she said to loud applause.
“We Europeans will show our free life is stronger than any terror,” Merkel added, battling with a croaky voice. Just hours before heading to Paris to meet French President Francois Hollande, she said Germany would show solidarity with France after the attacks that killed at least 130 people.
With Open Gates: The forced collective suicide of European nations
Germany, which has since World War Two been reluctant to join military missions abroad, said earlier it is sending 650 soldiers to the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali and increasing the number of troops training Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq.
Guards at Berlin refugee office ‘used Nazi language and called for asylum-seekers to be sent to concentration camps’
Germany security guards at the main government office for refugees in Berlin have reportedly been caught on camera using openly Nazi language. Bild newspaper has released video footage in which it alleges the guards call for asylum-seekers to be put in concentration camps.
One recording purports to show a uniformed security guard speaking of getting “swastikas in my eyes”.
“In two years, there will be a revolution here and there will be no more of all this s***. We’ll clean it all out,” the guard, who has not been named, appears to say.
“We have plenty of summer camps, and I swear to you they can be used again. On the gate: work makes you free,” he says. The German phrase he uses, Arbeit macht frei, was infamously written above the entrances to Auschwitz and other Nazi extermination camps.