Merkel defends immigration decision on one-year anniversary of 'wir schaffen das'

Chancellor Angela Merkel says Germany failed to deal with the refugee crisis appropriately. However, Merkel is not suggesting she should have restricted the flow of immigrants, only that Germany should have addressed the immigration problem sooner. From Bloomberg:

Merkel, in an interview with the Munich-based newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung published late Tuesday, defended her decision to admit more than 1 million refugees last year even as neighboring countries threw up barriers and razor-wire fences. In fact, Germany had “ignored the problem for too long,” she said.

“As far back as 2004 and 2005 a lot of refugees arrived, and we left Spain and others at the external borders to deal with it,” the chancellor was cited as saying.

Wednesday will be one year since Merkel made her most well known comment about the refugee influx. Reuters reports:

Merkel made the comments in an unusually self-critical analysis that appeared to be timed to the one-year anniversary on Wednesday of her now-famous statement “wir schaffen das”, or “we can do this”, when asked about the rising tide of refugees.

Her conservative party is expected to take a beating in two regional elections next month in part due to her refugee policies.

Merkel warned against connecting the refugees to a rise in terror attacks:

“It’s simply incorrect to say that terrorism came only with the refugees,” she said. “It was already here in myriad forms and with the various potential attackers that we have been watching.”

Merkel has made almost the same comments about refugees and terrorism before. Germany admitted over a million immigrants into the country last year. Another 300,000 are expected to arrive this year. Last week Germany’s Vice-Chancellor said that the Chancellor’s party had “underestimated” the challenge of integrating so many immigrants into German society.