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Merkel: Fight against xenophobia is the ‘deepest concern’

Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has complained of racism and Islamophobia in Germany as hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants are massed at the Turkish border, hoping to enter the EU and Germany.

Published: March 3, 2020, 6:42 am

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    The fight against anti-Semitism and xenophobia is the “deepest concern” of the federal government, said Merkel.

    According to the ARD Tagesschau on Monday before the start of the integration summit in Berlin, the focus was on “extreme right-wing” incidents in the past few months. The members of the federal government are very depressed “that so far it has not been possible to stop these acts,” the dpa news agency quoted the chancellor as saying.

    The government wants to do more so that every citizen of this country, regardless of skin color and belief, can live in dignity. This dignity is not extended towards Germans that support the AfD however.

    Before the event started, Merkel had spoken to representatives of migrant associations about the shooting in Hanau. A 43-year-old mentally-ill German shot nine foreigners in the Hessian city about two weeks ago before allegedly killing himself and his mother.

    “Right-wing violence is not an exception, but an expression of a problem of racism in society as a whole,” the managing director of the Federal Immigration and Integration Council, Deniz Nergiz, told German news agency dpa. “Institutional racism in German security and investigative authorities” stands in the way of a thorough investigation of right-wing crimes. In an open letter to Merkel, the Federal Conference of Migrant Organizations called for a “mandatory minimum level of diversity” on Friday.

    At the integration summit, the federal government decided to set up a cabinet committee to combat right-wing extremism and racism. “The fight against discrimination, racism and hostility to Muslims – in all areas of our coexistence – is crucial for the success of integration,” said the Federal Government’s Integration Commissioner, Annette Widmann-Mauz (CDU).

    In the “National Integration Plan” coordinated by the committee, the government will for the first time devote itself to the “phase before immigration”. This is unique in the history of German integration.

    “If you want orderly migration, you have to educate people about legal ways. We are in a global competition for skilled workers and there are also many other attractive immigration countries,” warned Widmann-Mauz, suggesting that Germany does welcome enough foreigners.

    But Widmann-Mauz was contradicted by the European border protection agency Frontex. It has warned of continuing “migration flows to Greece” and that it would be “difficult to stop the massive flow of people who have traveled,” German daily Die Welt reported.

    A further increase in migration can be expected “in the next few days” from Turkey and “social media” played a central role in this.

    According to Frontex, this leaves three options for the EU. Firstly, to respond quickly to Turkish President Erdogan’s new demands. Secondly, to secure the borders to Greece with police officers and combat troops. Thirdly: to block off the West Balkan route.

    Since the weekend there have been over 75000 migrants massed in the Turkish-Greek border area. There security forces have tried to prevent them from entering EU territory which resulted in often serious clashes.

    Greek officials had to use tear gas to defend themselves against the aggressive illegal migrants.

    Meanwhile, the left faction’s foreign policy expert Sevim Dagdelen has warned of a new asylum crisis. It had to be regulated so that Germany would not be the only country in the end accepting them, she told the television station ntv. “2015 must not be repeated in Germany.” In addition, Germany should lift economic sanctions against Syria and no longer support “this regime change war against Assad, which is contrary to international law”.

    The candidate for the CDU chairmanship, Friedrich Merz, demanded that Germany send a signal to migrants in Turkey: “There is no point in coming to Germany. We cannot accept you here.” In Germany, everyone involved agreed that an asylum inflow like 2015 and 2016 should not be repeated, Merz said on Monday on the news radio MDR Aktuell.

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