Merkel Admits Germany Waited Too Long Before Raising Refugee Issue

© REUTERS / Stefanie LoosGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel walks to the desk during a meeting at the lower house of parliament Bundestag on 2017 budget in Berlin, Germany, September 7, 2016
German Chancellor Angela Merkel walks to the desk during a meeting at the lower house of parliament Bundestag on 2017 budget in Berlin, Germany, September 7, 2016 - Sputnik International
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Germany was not ready for the current influx of migrants and refugees as it lacked integration capabilities, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday.

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses a news conference after a meeting over the Balkan refugee crisis with leaders from central and eastern Europe at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, October 26, 2015 - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The chancellor added that she realized that it was necessary to take appropriate measures to prepare Germany for the influx of migrants and refugees many years ago.

"In past years not everything was done correctly. We were not world champions in integration, we have waited too long time before we raised a refugee issue. We must now cope with that – also me. For a long time I have been glad to rely on the Dublin Regulation and the Germans told us that the problem had aggravated. That was not good," Merkel told reporters after her party plummeted to its lowest result in Berlin city-state elections on Sunday.

However, Angela Merkel expressed her unwillingness to place limits on the number of asylum seekers the country accepts, adding that Germany would step up efforts to reduce the number of migrants.

"The statistical number will not help resolve the issue, we will work on the way to reduce the number of refugees," Merkel said when commenting on the results of Sunday's state elections in Berlin.

Horst Seehofer, the Bavarian prime minister of the Christian Social Union (CSU) which is part of the ruling coalition alongside Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has the opposite point of view and advocates the introduction of such limits.

On Sunday, Berliners were electing 149 members to the state parliament. The Merkel's CDU suffered their worst ever results in the German capital, having secured only 18 percent of votes in comparison with 23.3 percent five years ago.

Europe is struggling to find a solution to the massive refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing conflict-torn countries in the Middle East and North Africa in order to reach stable and wealthy European countries, such as Germany and Sweden.

EU border agency Frontex detected over 1.83 million illegal border crossings in 2015, in contrast to some 283,000 in 2014. Of these, more than 1 million net arrivals streamed into Germany, according to the German Federal Statistical Office.

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