German State Prime Minister Calls for Refugee Plan B After Merkel Failure

German State Prime Minister Calls for Refugee Plan B After Merkel Failure © Flickr/ Senado Federal

19:00 15.01.2016Get short URL

The Prime Minister of the German state of Lower Saxony Stephan Weil has said German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s asylum policies had “fatally” led to a permanent special role for Germany within Europe and called for a plan B.

Weil’s comments come amid growing anger within Germany at Merkel’s refusal to set a cap on the number of refugees the country will accept and the recent series of attacks in Cologne and several other cities.

More than 500 complaints have so far been made following a series of sex attacks, assaults and robberies at Cologne station on New Years’ Day by a large number of men of North African and Arab appearance, leading to huge demonstrations against the refugees.

“It was a low blow in several ways. For the affected women who have suffered a veritable gauntlet. For the state, which must regain confidence, and for the vast majority of refugees and the people who help them. You run the risk of them undeservedly falling into disrepute,” Weil told Die Welt.

He said he had become annoyed at Merkel.

“All the Chancellor has said so far is ‘we can do it’. This is cheap, because it is our individual states and especially the local authorities, aid organizations and the volunteers who are bearing the burden.

“Either we succeed internationally to curb the access number. Or do we need to do things that nobody wants and that will hurt Europe,” he said.

End of Borderless Europe?

He was alluding to the end of the Schengen agreement on a borderless Europe. He said that, unless Europe could control its external borders, countries would all close their borders — as is already happening in many EU member states.

“Either one ensures the EU’s external border — which I think is necessary — and build humanitarian reception facilities at the border or we will return to having internal borders in Europe,” said Weil.

His comments come amid growing anger at the way Merkel is handling the crisis — with many within Germany and outside the country blaming her for precipitating the crisis by declaring Germany’s door open to refugees.
In Bavaria — the southern state that has borne the brunt of the refugee crisis — District administrator Peter Dreier arranged for a group of refugees to be put on a bus and taken on a seven-hour journey from Bavaria to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office in Berlin to highlight the issue.

He said that his district of Landshut had no more space for asylum seekers and that Merkel herself should take more control.

“I am always in favor of giving these people somewhere dignified to live, but not in temporary shelters or gymnasiums for months, or anything like that. We just can’t provide proper accommodation for so many people fast enough, which is why we have to make a statement,” he said.

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