Almost a year since Germany announced its open-door refugee policy, Angela Merkel has defended her decision. In the wake of terrorist attacks in the EU and to better deal with any further refugee influx, she proposed introducing US-modeled border controls.
On September 4, 2015, the German Chancellor made an epic policy decision which resulted in over one million refugees flocking into Germany by the end of the year. The move by the EU’s largest economy has sparked a downward spiral for the EU-wide migration policy.
Merkel’s decision impacted the entire European Union with some Schengen countries, forced to close their borders in light of the massive refugee influx. To aid and somewhat correct the situation, Merkel rallied the EU countries to agree to a €6 billion ($6.bn) deal with Turkey to reduce the illegal refugee flows in exchange for an eventual promise for Ankara to potentially join the EU.
While focusing on external protection of borders, Merkel arguably contributed to the demise of the EU as we know it when the UK opted to leave the Union in June. As cases of refugee violence, rape and attacks intensified over the course of last year, and EU unable to agree on migrant quotas, Merkel defended her initial position in an interview with the German Bild newspaper.
Claiming her welcome was “misunderstood,” she explained that her“point was not to open the borders for everybody – but rather not to close them for those people who… had started their trek to us ..on foot,”Merkel said, as quoted by Business Insider.
Answering “no” to whether or not she regrets announcing the German open door policy, Merkel also defended the EU-Turkey deal which went into effect in March. This as tensions between Ankara and the union continue to rise, with European politicians warning that the EU must not allow itself to be bullied by Turkey over the migrant deal.
Asked about the Ansbach and Würzburg Islamic State-inspired terrorist attacks this summer, Merkel said that while Germany has been exposed to the threat of Islamist fundamentalism, the “Islamist terrorism represents great challenges for our security services.”
“On the European level, we should start working on an electronic entry control system modeled on the US system. This means that – regardless of whether they travel visa-free or not – anyone who enters a European country and who leaves again is registered so that you know exactly who has not left and is still somewhere in the Schengen Area,” Merkel said.