Merkel Says Germany Needs Realism in Handling Refugee Influx

The German Town Offering Refugees Work for 1 Euro an Hour
  • EU must take joint responsibility for handling crisis
  • Presses for agreement at European summit on Wednesday

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany must be realistic in how many refugees the country can take in and pressed her European partners to share responsibility for handling the crisis.

As Merkel and leaders of the other 27 European Union governments seek agreement on how to confront the region’s biggest refugee flow since World War II at a summit on Wednesday, Merkel said “it’s not just a German challenge” but a European one.

“I’m firmly convinced that we won’t be successful if we pretend we can do it all,” Merkel said in a speech to a labor-union convention in Leipzig on Sunday. “We’re a big country, we’re a strong country and we want to be a diverse country. But to pretend we can solve all of the world’s social problems on our own, wouldn’t be realistic. We have to keep an eye on reality.”

As many as 1 million people fleeing war and poverty will arrive in Germany this year, according to Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, although not all will end up staying. Merkel reiterated that while Germany will be generous in accepting war refugees such as those fleeing fighting in Syria, economic migrants shouldn’t expect they’ll be able to stay.

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