Refugee crisis tests Europe’s core ideals says Merkel
“Universal civil rights have been closely linked with Europe and its history as a founding impetus of the European Union,” she said.
“If Europe fails on the question of refugees, if this close link with universal civil rights is broken, then it won’t be the Europe we wished for,” she said, urging other EU members to accept their fair share of asylum seekers.
Speaking to foreign journalists in Berlin, Merkel said: “Europe as a whole needs to move. Member states must share responsibility for asylum-seeking refugees.”
Germany expects to receive 800,000 asylum seekers this year, four times more than in 2014 and more than any other EU country.
Merkel expressed confidence that Europe will stand up to the challenge, pointing to previous challenges such as the 2008 banking crisis, and to problems Germany has overcome, from 1990 reunification to its ongoing nuclear phase-out.
On a spate of hate crimes and attacks against refugee shelters in Germany, she vowed that the “full force of law” will be brought down on those who insult, attack or launch arson attacks targeting the newcomers.
“There will be zero tolerance for those who put in question the dignity of other people,” she said.