“Never before, since World War II, have so many people been fleeing than today,” she told the lower house of parliament, pointing to estimates putting the number of refugees around the world at nearly 60 million people.

“We only need this number to understand that we don’t simply face a German challenge, or just a European challenge, but we are dealing with a global challenge that requires each region, each country, each political level, each institution to make its contribution to tackle the crisis. This includes everything, and everything must go hand-in-hand.”

Her comments come as Germany has emerged as one of the prime destinations for migrants and refugees fleeing war, persecution and poverty in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Africa and Southeastern Europe.