We Have Lost Control of the Refugee Crisis, Admits Merkel

We Have Lost Control of the Refugee Crisis, Admits Merkel

The New Indian Express — Jan 12, 2016

Angela Merkel said last night (Monday) that Europe had lost control of the refugee crisis, as she confronts public anger over the New Year’s Eve sex attacks in Cologne.

“All of a sudden we are facing the challenge that refugees are coming to Europe and we are vulnerable, as we see, because we do not yet have the order, the control that we would like to have,” the chancellor told a meeting of business leaders.

Her comments came after authorities in Cologne confirmed for the first time that the attacks were “almost exclusively” carried out by men “of an immigrant background”.

Police have identified 19 suspects so far, including 10 who are in the country as registered asylum seekers.

There are growing fears of a backlash against immigrants after 11 people were badly beaten in apparent revenge attacks in Cologne. Last night, rioting reportedly broke out among far-Right protesters in Leipzig, where a march by the city’s branch of the anti-Islam movement Pegida was taking place.

“As disgusting as the crimes in Cologne and other cities were, one thing is clear: there is no justification for a general agitation against foreigners,” said Heiko Maas, the justice minister. Some people “appear to have just been waiting for what happened”, he said.

Mrs Merkel’s government has come under heavy criticism for her “open door” refugee policy since it emerged in a series of police leaks that asylum seekers were among those suspected of the sexual assaults.

The findings of a report by the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia released yesterday are likely to add to the pressure.

“Both witness accounts and police reports indicate that people of an almost exclusively immigrant background were the perpetrators of these crimes,” Ralf Jager, the state interior minister, told the state parliament as he presented the report. “After they were intoxicated with drugs and alcohol came violence. It culminated in the acting out of fantasies of sexual power. That must be severely punished.”

Fourteen of the 19 suspects come from Morocco and Algeria. Aside from the 10 asylum seekers, two suspects are unaccompanied minors and seven are believed to be in Germany illegally. Four have been arrested in connection with other crimes and are in custody.

Some 516 criminal complaints have been filed over the events of New Year’s Eve, 40 per cent of them for sexual assault, according to police. Police say they have found no evidence to back suspicions voiced by Mr Maas at the weekend that the sex attacks may have been planned in advance.

The authorities warned of a possible backlash against immigrants after 11 people were beaten in Cologne on Sunday evening. Six Pakistanis, three Guineans and two Syrians were among 11 people attacked in four incidents that took place within 45 minutes in a small area close to the scene of the New Year’s Eve assaults.

Turkey plans to offer Syrian refugees work permits to encourage fewer of them to move to Europe. Volkan Bozkir, the minister for European affairs, announced the move after meeting the European Commission vice-president, Frans Timmermans, who said the EU was far from happy with efforts to prevent migrants crossing to Greece.

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