Chancellor Angela Merkel won a hero’s welcome as she visited a Berlin migrant centre on Thursday, with Syrians cheering and taking selfies as Germany threw open its doors to thousands of refugees.
Chancellor Merkel promised that Germany would do everything in its power to speed up asylum procedures and provide the refugees with suitable shelter.
Europe’s top economy is expecting to welcome 800,000 asylum seekers this year, nearly double the previous high in 1992, when it took in 438,000 refugees from the war-torn former Yugoslavia. The chancellor forecast 1.8 percent economic growth for this year and next.
“We want to give them a good future”.
At the same time, she said, “we must make clear which rules apply here, and we should not watch on if certain communities turn inward and reject integration or build parallel societies”.
Thomas Kreuzer, chairman of the CSU in the Bavarian parliament, said the influx was threatening to become permanent and “exceed the reception and integration capacity of our country”, the party statement said.
Germany, one of several European countries struggling with the ongoing migrant crisis, has witnessed a wave of anti-immigration protests, including a series of incidents in which far-right extremists attempted to disrupt services to refugees in the country.
The Greens politician also states that she is speaking out on behalf of the many Germans working to assist the asylum seekers arriving in the country, who don’t have the platform to defend themselves publicly against such racist abuse. “That’s a change”, he said.
While Merkel spoke during a visit to a branch of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) in Berlin, she was supported by Labour Minister Andrea Nahles.
If the new arrivals are integrated quickly and well into the workforce or schools, they could “present more opportunities than risks”, said Merkel.