German Chancellor Angela Merkel Saturday tried to placate the increasingly vocal critics of her open-door policy for refugees, insisting that asylum seekers from Syria and Iraq would go home once the conflicts there had ended.
Merkel, despite appearing increasingly isolated over her policy, has resisted pressure from some conservatives to cap the influx of refugees, or to close Germany’s borders. A record 1.1 million migrants arrived in Germany last year.
But growing concern about the country’s ability to cope and worries about crime and security after assaults on women are weighing on support for Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU).
Merkel said that despite efforts to integrate refugees and help them, it was important to stress that they had only been given permission to stay for a limited period of time.
“We need … to say to people that this is a temporary residential status and we expect that once there is peace in Syria again, once ISIS has been defeated in Iraq, that you go back to your home country with the knowledge that you have gained,” she said at a meeting of CDU members in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.