But in addition, Merkel stressed her commitment to her disputed refugee policy, saying Germany, Europe’s economic powerhouse, has a duty to protect those fleeing war and conflict in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
In a nod to critics in her conservative party, especially in Bavaria, where most of the migrants enter Germany, she said that migrants who do not need protection must be sent home.
“But simply sealing ourselves off will not solve the problem,” she said. Merkel repeated her “we will cope” mantra and reiterated her argument that Europe must tackle the causes of the crisis by working for peace in Syria and engaging Turkey as a partner in the refugee crisis.
She countered politicians in some countries who have warned that the refugee crisis has exposed problems in Europe’s Schengen passport-free area, saying that states must develop it further by agreeing on migrant quotas.
“A distribution of refugees according to economic strength and other conditions … and the readiness for a permanent distribution mechanism … will determine whether the Schengen area will hold in the long term,” she said.