German Chancellor Merkel Calls on Limits to Migrants Influx into EU

German Chancellor Merkel Calls on Limits to Migrants Influx into EU
Thu Jan 7, 2016 12:08:06

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has made a U-turn on her open-door policy on refugees, demanding a reduction in the number of asylum seekers entering the European Union.

"It is very important to me that we achieve both a noticeable reduction in the flow of refugees… and at the same time preserve the free movement of people within the European Union," said Merkel.

Merkel formerly pledged not to put quotas on the number of refugees entering Germany which accepted around one million refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan in 2015.

This free movement, which has resulted in 26 European countries abolishing internal border controls within their Schengen zone, was "a motor for economic development and prosperity," she added.

The German chancellor made the remarks after Sweden and Denmark tightened border controls to restrict the refugee influx from Germany. Sweden has also imposed strict identity checks on all travelers arriving from Denmark.

It is the first time in over half a century that travelers between the two Nordic countries will have to provide travel documents.

Merkel has been under fire for a surge in the number of Syrians and Iraqis arriving in Germany. Critics say her administration has not made sufficient contribution to efforts for ending the crisis in Syria and Iraq.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said on Wednesday the number of refugees, who have come to Germany, is too high. He said Berlin is “working so that it is not repeated on this scale in 2016.”

More than one million refugees entered Europe in 2015, according to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR. Almost 50 percent of them were fleeing war and violence in Syria and about 21 percent were from Afghanistan.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The crisis has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people and left over one million injured, according to the UN, Press TV reported.

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