Europe: German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a New Year’s address in Berlin on Dec. 30. She urge Germans to see the influx of refugees as an opportunity for the future. She said that the past year has been challenging and said “Wir schaffen es” – we can do it.
She said intermixing of new arrivals will take “time, strength and money.” She added, “I am convinced that if we tackle the huge task posed by the influx and integration of so many people in the right way today, then this will represent an opportunity for us tomorrow.”
Merkel said that “there has rarely been a year in which we were challenged so much to follow up our words with deeds”.She thanked volunteers , police, soldiers and administrators for their “outstanding” accomplishments and “doing far, far more than their duty”.
She says “it’s important we don’t allow ourselves to be divided”. By warning against support for xenophobic groups and “anti-Islamisation” rallies in Germany, she urges Germans not to follow “those with coldness, or even hate in their hearts, and who claim the right to be called German for themselves alone and seek to marginalise others”.
Germany is the world’s top destination for asylum seekers, while most of the countries were discouraging migrants from entering their borders by introducing increasingly harsh policies. Germany welcomed more than one million refugees and migrants who have reached Europe by sea since the start of 2015, about half are from Syria.
These migrant crisis has strained relations between EU member states, with some countries introducing temporary border controls despite the bloc’s principle of passport-free movement.