Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany has a duty to help people fleeing war and repression, though not everyone who comes from outside the European Union can stay.
In a speech to a meeting of her Christian Democratic Union party in Cologne, Merkel cited international agreements on the status of refugees and language in Germany’s post-World War II constitution that says human dignity is inviolable.
“We are under obligation under the Geneva accords, our own asylum law and Article One of our constitution to help them,” Merkel said Friday at a celebration marking 70 years since the CDU’s founding.
She compared the surge of refugees from countries such as Syria to those fleeing to Germany after the war, saying that “not only Germany, but all of the European Union” will be judged by how it confronts the crisis.
Earlier Friday, German and French officials said Merkel and President Francois Hollande, in a letter to European officials including EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, pressed for a binding plan to distribute refugees across the EU and speedier processing in countries where they arrive.