Four years since launching her dubious open-door migrant policy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was again forced to defend it as she addressed her supporters in Brandenburg.
The embattled Chancellor insisted it was never a mistake to take in people, but rather mistakes had been made earlier, by European countries failing to address the refugee crises in such volatile states as Lebanon or Jordan, adding: “That’s why our lesson is: provide local help”.
Looking back at the early years of her chancellorship, Angela Merkel acknowledged her failure to adjust living conditions in eastern and western Germany, admitting she had initially believed the federal states could do this on their own, but found out they couldn’t.
According to the German Chancellor, the major issues of recent years such as the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009 and the refugee crisis of 2015 had taken up a lot of political energy.
The country’s refugee policy has long been a source of discord, both within Germany and among many of her EU partners.
Last year, protesters opposed to Angela Merkel’s refugee policy took to the streets in a number of cities, prompted by acts of violence, including gang rape and murder, allegedly perpetrated by migrants.
Although many Germans had initially showed support for their chancellor’s open-door migrant policy, when faced by an overwhelming influx, clashes in refugee centres, and a backlog of registrations, dissent among the ranks of Angela Merkel’s government eventually sparked a major political backlash that left Angela Merkel reeling.
The chancellor’s popularity ratings took a unusual hit, she proceeded to flop in polls during the 2017 elections and struggled to assemble a coalition government.
Merkel finally quit as leader of her Christian Democratic Party, announcing she would stand down as chancellor at the next election.