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AfD’s Jörg Meuthen aims to bring together populists in European Parliament

The co-leader of Germany's far-right AfD says his party will use European elections to unite populists across the continent. Jörg Meuthen told DW the party's key concern will be getting "migration chaos under control." Members of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) selected Jörg Meuthen to lead their party's charge in European elections In an interview with DW, Meuthen explained what he hopes to achieve ahead of and after the May poll. DW: What use does the Alternative for Germany party have for the European Union at all? Jörg Meuthen: For supranational tasks. When we talk about wanting sensible border protection then it makes sense to protect the external borders of the bloc. There are supranational tasks concerning environmental policy and international trade. Take the internal market — it is an achievement because it is a win-win situation for everyone involved. Unlike what's often said about us, we do not damn the entire European Union lock, stock and barrel. There are also achievements. You want to create a parliamentary group in the European Parliament. Many say that will be a difficult task. How will you bring together different parties from different countries? What is the common denominator? Patience, lots of meetings and building trust. We have to be in contact with parties from several nations. That has been going on for some time and there have been many good talks and we will talk to other countries soon. What everyone is asking, of course, is how we will bring everyone together. Building trust is what has to be done and that happens at the personal level. And you have to be willing to compromise. US President Donald Trump's former adviser Steve Bannon has been touring Europe with a similar goal of bringing together populist parties. But he has avoided Germany. How are the AfD's ties to Bannon? I don't know if Mr. Bannon is avoiding Germany. As far as I know, he has spoken to [AfD politicians] Alice Weidel and Beatrix von Storch. It's not that long ago that he called me. But I do not think that Mr. Bannon will play a significant role in creating a parliamentary group or bringing together parties that others would call right-wing populists. We Europeans can do that fine on our own. If he starts a foundation that runs like a think tank, then that could be of interest to us as a place to stay in touch. But Mr. Bannon certainly will not play a role in the European elections. What three issues do you want to address in the European election? Getting this migration chaos under control is absolutely the most important issue. Second: introducing more democracy. We are the only party to advocate for direct democracy. That means a real policy of decentralization and subsidiarity — and in a serious way, not just as a catchword in speeches. That means taking away the unnecessary things from Brussels. Eliminating the EU's remoteness from citizens by putting things where they belong. We call it Swissification. As for the third issue, there will likely be a chance to bring attention to the problems of a common currency, which is why the AfD was started. An economic boom is coming to an end. I assume that in six months, or a year at the latest, there will be a clear trend toward negative development. And then the drawbacks will be much clearer, as they already are for the experts. We have to do something about that. Jörg Meuthen is co-leader of the Alternative for Germany party. He was elected the far-right party's lead candidate for the European elections to be held in May 2019.

The co-leader of Germany’s far-right AfD says his party will use European elections to unite populists across the continent. Jörg Meuthen told DW the party’s key concern will be getting “migration chaos under control.” Members of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) selected Jörg Meuthen to lead their party’s charge in European elections In an interview with DW, Meuthen explained ... Read More »

What is the UN migration pact — and why do some oppose it?

The UN's Global Compact for Migration sets out non-binding guidelines for an integrated approach to international migration. DW looks at the agreement and at why some nations are vehemently against it. The United Nations' Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration marks the first time the world body has ever agreed on a list of global measures to tackle the risks and challenges involved in migration for individual migrants, and at the same time to maximize benefits for the countries taking in immigrants. The agreement comes as huge numbers of people across the world, often driven by conflict and poverty, are leaving their countries of origin to seek refuge elsewhere. But not all countries agree with the compact's basic tenets and have been vocal in their opposition. The text of the agreement was finalized by UN member states on July 13, 2018, and is scheduled to be adopted at a December intergovernmental conference in Marrakesh, Morocco. The compact is based on the recognition that the entire world needs to cooperate if current and future massive migration flows are to be managed in a humane manner, while still taking account of the values of state sovereignty. What are the objectives? The compact comprises 23 objectives for the management of migration at local, national, regional and global levels. They include: • minimizing "adverse drivers and structural factors" that force people to leave their home countries • ensuring that all migrants have adequate documentation and identity papers • making objective information available on all stages of migration • promoting an "evidence-based public discourse" • saving lives and coordinating international efforts for missing migrants • creating conditions to allow migrants to contribute to sustainable development in all countries • cooperation on a safe return and readmission of migrants to their home countries if necessary The compact does not stipulate any mandatory number of migrants to be accepted by a country. The guidelines also call for combating trafficking and the "integrated, secure and coordinated" management of borders. Why do some countries object? According to the UN, the agreement as a whole takes into account "legitimate concerns of states and communities" and the fact that the repercussions of migration for respective countries and regions may differ according to their demographic, economic, social and environmental situations. However, these assurances, and the fact that the compact is not legally binding, have not been enough to convince several UN members, including the United States, Austria and Hungary, who say they will not sign the agreement. Governments in these countries have voiced several objections, among other things saying the compact mixes up the rights of asylum-seekers with those of economic migrants. The US under President Donald Trump also argues that multinational agreements in general, and this one in particular, go against the sovereign power of individual governments. States may agree to join the agreement at a later date even if their political climate is currently opposed to it. Refuting the objections In a bid to counter false information spread on the internet about the compact, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party has published a list of questions and answers to reassure "concerned citizens." They can also be seen as refuting the objections made by the countries that are refusing to sign. Among other things, it stresses that the non-binding compact does not require country that signs it to take on additional obligations. The top German party's document also insists that the agreement aims to strengthen the protection of national borders rather than to weaken it. The CDU also maintains that the compact enshrines national sovereignty in all border and security issues regarding migration, and makes a strict differentiation between legal and illegal migration.

The UN’s Global Compact for Migration sets out non-binding guidelines for an integrated approach to international migration. DW looks at the agreement and at why some nations are vehemently against it. The United Nations’ Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration marks the first time the world body has ever agreed on a list of global measures to tackle ... Read More »

Donald Trump threatens to shut US-Mexico border with troops

US President Donald Trump has threatened to order the military to close the US-Mexico border to stop an "onslaught" of migrants. Mexico itself geared up for the arrival of up to 3,000 people from Honduras on its border. US President Donald Trump on Thursday accused the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras of conducting an "assault" on the United States by allowing people to travel north into Mexico. He went on to threaten to use the military to close the border if Mexico did not stop the migrants traveling through the country to the United States. Trump appealed to Mexico to stop the migrants, and also warned that he would stop aid payments to Central American countries "which seem to have almost no control of their population." Trump's threats — which appeared in a string of tweets — came as thousands of migrants made their way through Guatemala toward the Mexican border. One single caravan, estimated to include between 1,500 to 3,000 people, left Honduras headed north last Saturday. Many, seeking to escape gang violence and poverty, are believed to be seeking a route to the United States. Some told the AFP news agency that they planned to enter Mexico en masse. Trump's tweets also blamed Democrats for the situation, claiming that weak laws were to blame, and said the migrants included criminal elements. It remained unclear whether Trump's threat would result in any military deployment. Read more: US-Mexico border scandals sink bilateral ties to historic low Huge quantities of goods and hundreds of thousands of people move across the border legally each day. Trump has made immigration across the border from Mexico, including his call for a wall across the frontier, a central policy in his administration. His administration's policy of separating familes and detaining thousands of children, mostly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, prompted widespread condemnation. Playing to the crowd? While Trump's tweets on Thursday were particularly robust, Mexico's foreign minister-designate Marcelo Ebrard downplayed them, saying they were aimed at his US political base. "The position of President Trump is the one he has always raised," Ebrard told local radio station Radio Centro. "It was predictable and also the election process is very close, so he is making a political calculation." Read more: Migrants gamble with their lives on the 'death train' Mexico has said it will ask the United Nations refugee office for help with the arrival of the Honduran migrants, who include many families with children. Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said he planned to make the formal request in a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York. "For the Mexican government it is essential first to respect and protect the human rights and fundamental dignity of all of the migrants and to do so under a logical and humanitarian and respectful treatment," said Videgaray.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to order the military to close the US-Mexico border to stop an “onslaught” of migrants. Mexico itself geared up for the arrival of up to 3,000 people from Honduras on its border. US President Donald Trump on Thursday accused the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras of conducting an “assault” on ... Read More »

Vienna museum cancels migrant ‘propaganda’ play

A controversial theater piece about two refugees, one from Syria and one "from Africa," has been canceled hours before its public premiere. But the government-commissioned play has been seen by thousands of children.

e Weltmuseum in Vienna on Friday canceled the first public performance of “World in Flux” (“Welt in Bewegung”), a play about migrants in Austria, shortly before its premiere following criticism that the government-commissioned work was “crude propaganda” and full of racist stereotypes. The work had already been seen by thousands of schoolchildren as part of a special free viewing program. ... Read More »

EU and Africa: Partners with different interests

With an increasing number of migrants from Africa crossing the Mediterranean, the EU-Africa summit is going to be about forging a new kind of partnership to deal with this. But will it serve both sides' interests? German Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken at the EU-Africa summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, saying the European Union wants to work more closely with Africa to address illegal migration. Speaking days after the horrific details of the slave trade in Libya caused an international outcry, she said, "It's very important that we simply support Africans to put a stop to illegal migration, so people don't have to suffer in horrible camps in Libya or be traded." Meanwhile, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has urged EU leaders to work more closely with Africa to deal with migration and security issues. He told the Associated Press news agency that he and the younger generation of leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron and Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, who are also attending the summit, must seize this opportunity to put Africa-EU relations on a new footing "I come from a generation that sees Africa as a partner," Michel said. "There is no more room in our generation for nostalgia about the past or a sense of guilt." Read more: Jean-Claude Junker: Migrants 'need legal ways to come to Europe' High hopes for summit agenda Two years ago, when European and African heads of government met halfway on the Mediterranean island of Malta, the main issue up for discussion was how to deal with irregular migration. The agreements made at that time have only been partially honored — and this applies to both sides. With EU leaders now travelling to Abidjan to meet with their African counterparts, there are hopes of forging more far-reaching goals. There are discussions about the need to create a new partnership that will recognize the differing needs of Europeans and Africans. With Africa's population set to double by 2050, the main objective for Europeans is to avert the threat posed by irregular migration by strengthening development and cooperation on the ground. Africans, on the other hand, are calling for EU policy development to recognize them as equals, and to be treated with respect as partners. It is a difficult balance. "We must work together to solve our problems," Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament, told DW. Tajani listed the main topics on the agenda: "Migration — this is a problem for both sides," he said. Also to be discussed are the common issues of terrorism, youth unemployment and the consequences of climate change. Both Europeans and Africans are affected, he said, and must work hand in hand to find a way forward. This summit is not about providing a photo opportunity, he said, but about a real search for solutions. In about 30 years, the population of Africa will be more than two billion. Tajani believes that if the problems facing Africa are not tackled now, millions of people will look to moving to Europe. As a result, a main focus of discussion in Abidjan is going to be about policies for dealing with Africa's youth. Africa is already the youngest continent in the world and Tajani said that it "must be able to guarantee its young people a future." Read more: Evacuate migrants enslaved in Libya, urges France's Macron Tajani went on to say that a "Marshall Plan" must be drawn up, as discussed after the last G20 summit in Germany. The EU cannot perform miracles, he said, but it must do much more. Europe remains the largest development aid donor, having given €20 billion ($23.6 billion) last year. At the same time, African countries received around €21 billion from their citizens' remittances to their homelands. That is one reason why many countries refuse to accept returning migrants when they are sent back from Europe — after all, they are good for business. At €32 billion, however, the EU's direct investment in Africa is relatively modest. The African side is hoping for significantly more money and involvement. Werner Hoyer, head of the European Investment Bank, has proposed creating a special bank for Africa, where loans and guarantees for projects could be pooled. This could raise the existing small-scale development cooperation to a new level. How quickly this will happen, however, and how much money the Europeans will really make available remains open — despite the grand statements about a Marshall Plan that would be supported by Germany, Italy, Spain and France. Better governance as a basis for success According to Denis Mukwege, a medical doctor and activist from the Congo, "Development aid without conditions often rolls out the red carpet for dictators. And we know very well that such people let their citizens starve, cheat in elections, change the constitution and lose all European respect, he told DW. But, he believes, democracy and good governance are not purely European concepts. They belong to mankind's common heritage, which includes Africa, he said. And he went on to stress that future relations between Africa and Europe must be based on such values. Mukwege has become famous through his work and commitment to women in the Congo who have been abused and mistreated on a massive scale in acts of war and unrest. He takes a very critical view of many African rulers: "If you look at some African countries today, their problems do not come from a lack of human or material resources, but from bad government." Mukwege believes that Africa must free itself from the role of being the eternal beggar. There is a link between peace, security and development, but this is only possible if there is an established basis of democracy and good governance, he said. Europe and Africa must work on an equal footing According to Ruffin Touadera, president of the Central African Republic, the vision for the future has changed. "The EU wants to work with African representatives now. It's about creating a real partnership. The issues of Africa's youth and the question of migration are directly related to the lack of development." He told DW that investment in education, agricultural productivity and water supply is needed. The president also said that young people must be given future prospects, because uncontrolled migration is a natural result of the current situation. Touadera wants to attract direct investments from abroad in particular and admits that local conditions need to be improved. "We have our responsibilities, but we also need the support of our partners once we have made decisions together," the president said. He fully supports the idea of a Marshall Plan for Africa, which could solve many of the continent's problems through massive investments. But the hope of fast and substantial financial commitments from the EU could be deceptive since so much of Africa is suffering from home-grown political crises, corruption and mismanagement. African countries are bringing high expectations to the summit. But Europeans are necessarily guarded about investing billions in insecure states. Any new partnership will entail a drawn-out process with many small steps along the way.

With an increasing number of migrants from Africa crossing the Mediterranean, the EU-Africa summit is going to be about forging a new kind of partnership to deal with this. But will it serve both sides’ interests? German Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken at the EU-Africa summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, saying the European Union wants to work more closely with ... Read More »

French left debates migrants and Trump ahead of primary

An ex-premier has proposed a carbon tax on American goods and reinforcing national identity through language. But his left-wing rival said Europe will not get away "with warships and barbed wire" in combatting migration. After their first televised debate last week, France's leftist presidential candidates on Sunday discussed their positions on migration and US President-elect Donald Trump ahead of a primary vote later this month. Former premier Manuel Valls, considered the leading candidate by several national polls, said he wants to "respect the right of asylum," but that France has "already faced the migratory crisis," according to French newspaper "Le Monde." France must "reinforce work for the integration of asylum seekers," in particular exhorting them to learn French, he said. However, former Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg criticized the ex-premier's response, saying more needed to be done to address the causes of migration. "We will not get away with warships and barbed wire," Montebourg said, referring to attempts to bolster the EU's borders after 2015's influx of more than 1 million migrants, many fleeing conflict and extreme poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The migration crisis prompted a political crisis between EU member states, with the Visegrad group, comprised of Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia, refusing to take in refugees allocated under a bloc-wide quota system. Jean-Luc Bennahmias, a center-left outlier and founder of the Democratic Front, called for a "true European foreign policy." "The minimum would be sharing" the burden, especially seeing that "our Italian and Greek friends continue to welcome thousands of people," Bennahmias said. 'Europe must be strong' The debate later shifted to the incoming US administration, with euroskeptic politicians flocking to the divisive President-elect Donald Trump. Vall rejected that Europe should submit to American policy, saying "Europe must be strong and united." His comments come amid reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is likely to warn Trump over protectionist measures aimed at shoring up the US economy. The EU will have to impose a "carbon tax on the import of American products," Valls said. "These are power relations. France must be strong at these times." However, some of the other candidates expressed a less reactionary vision for European-American relations Sylvia Pinel, head of the Radical Left Party, said France needed to lead instead of following, proposing the "strengthening of the Franco-German relationship." Under French President Francois Hollande, Paris has witnessed warm ties with Berlin. The primary to decide who will represent the left for the Socialist Party is scheduled for January 22, with a runoff expected on January 29. Despite seven contenders in the race, Valls is expected to lead the nomination for the presidency.

An ex-premier has proposed a carbon tax on American goods and reinforcing national identity through language. But his left-wing rival said Europe will not get away “with warships and barbed wire” in combatting migration. After their first televised debate last week, France’s leftist presidential candidates on Sunday discussed their positions on migration and US President-elect Donald Trump ahead of a ... Read More »

Mayor of New York warns Trump over illegal immigrants

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has told US President-elect Donald Trump that the city is "fearful" of his incoming administration. De Blasio said he expressed concerns about Trump's policies towards illegal immigrants. After visiting Manhattan's Trump Tower on Wednesday, where the billionaire president-elect is building his team to lead the country, de Blasio said he would do all he can to prevent the large-scale deportation of immigrants. Vowing to obstruct Trump's campaign pledge to expel millions of undocumented immigrants, the liberal mayor said the billionaire's stance "flew in the face of all that was great about New York City." No word on Trump's responses "I tried to express to him how much fear there is - how much fear there is in communities all over this city," de Blasio told reporters after the meeting. "I reiterated to him that this city and so many cities around the country will do all we can to protect our residents and to make sure that families are not torn apart." New York's foreign born population is 37 percent, according to census data, compared to the national average of 13 percent. De Blasio said their talk was "candid" and "respectful" but he had told Trump immigrant families should not be torn apart by deportations. Later he tweeted that he had warned the property tycoon against an abandoned police tactic supported by Trump of stopping and searching people on the street. After last week's shock Trump win, the Democrat mayor said the city would delete the names of hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who have received a city ID card, to stop the incoming administration from identifying or deporting them. As well as New York, the mayors of six other US cities including Los Angeles and Washington DC have vowed to protect immigrants from being deported. Trump backtracks Since the election, Trump has softened his pledge to banish 11 million illegal migrants, to just those with criminal records, or who are gang members or drug dealers. As well as migration, De Blasio said they had also discussed the need for tougher Wall Street regulation and increased protection of the rights of minorities including Muslims. During the US presidential election campaign de Blasio described the Republican candidate as "dangerous" and unqualified to lead the country. Trump, in turn, has called de Blasio "the worst mayor" in the country.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has told US President-elect Donald Trump that the city is “fearful” of his incoming administration. De Blasio said he expressed concerns about Trump’s policies towards illegal immigrants. After visiting Manhattan’s Trump Tower on Wednesday, where the billionaire president-elect is building his team to lead the country, de Blasio said he would do all he ... Read More »

Germany boosts African aid to curb irregular migration

The new funds will help would-be migrants in their African home countries, said Germany's foreign minister. The latest contribution pushes Berlin's humanitarian budget to 1.28 billion euros for 2016. Berlin on Monday pledged to raise its contributions to the UN refugee agency by 61 million euros ($67.44 million) in a bid to curb the number of African migrants attempting the perilous journey to Europe. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced the contribution upgrade after meeting with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi in the nation's capital. Berlin's latest move to curb irregular migration to the EU has brought its total contribution to UNHCR to 298 million euros ($329 million) this year, making its total budget for humanitarian efforts 1.28 billion euros, up from 105 million euros in 2012. Foreign ministry officials said the aid was expected to benefit people in Burundi, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan and neighboring countries, alongside those living in areas impacted by the Boko Haram militant group's insurgency in the Lake Chad region. "These countries urgently need our help. The money will allow people to be cared for near their homes so they don't have to make the dangerous journey to Europe," Steinmeier said. "The situation in these countries has been dramatically exacerbated by the recent escalation of existing conflicts or the break out of new conflicts and climate-related natural catastrophes," Steinmeier added. Contingency plans The increase in funds to aid refugees and internally displaced persons forms part of a plan to address the needs of possible migrants in their homeland. However, German authorities have explored further options to impede irregular migration to Europe. Earlier this week, Germany's interior minister said he had reviewed plans to prevent migrants from reaching the 28-nation bloc by intercepting migrants at sea, and returning them to their home countries. Some 890,000 migrants entered Germany in 2015, many of them fleeing conflict and extreme poverty in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

The new funds will help would-be migrants in their African home countries, said Germany’s foreign minister. The latest contribution pushes Berlin’s humanitarian budget to 1.28 billion euros for 2016. Berlin on Monday pledged to raise its contributions to the UN refugee agency by 61 million euros ($67.44 million) in a bid to curb the number of African migrants attempting the ... Read More »

Hungarian voters weigh in on refugee quotas

Hungarians have begun voting on the EU's refugee quota in a referendum likely to reject EU quotas. Hungary has barely accepted any refugees and has been a leader among European nations rejecting any EU-wide resettlement. Polling opened at 6 a.m. (0400 UTC) Sunday and will remain open until 7 p.m. local time as Hungarians are asked to weigh in on the EU's migrant quotas designed to distribute migrants more evenly around the EU bloc. The "Yes" or "No" question voters are being asked is, "Do you want the European Union to be able, without consulting the Hungarian parliament, to decree the compulsory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens into Hungary?" The "No" camp is expected to win comfortably but the result would be invalid if less than 50 percent of eligible voters turn out. A poll published Saturday by the Publicus Institute found that only 46 percent of 1,000 respondents said they would vote, down from 54 percent last month. Hungarian premier doubles down Prime Minister Orban repeated warnings Saturday that mass migration was a "threat... to Europe's safe way of life" and that Hungarians had "a duty" to fight the failed "liberal methods" of the "Brussels elite." "We can send a message to each European... telling them that it depends on us, European citizens, to bring the EU back to reason, with common effort, or let it disintegrate," Orban wrote in the right-leaning Magyar Idok newspaper. The EU proposal - spearheaded by Germany and approved last year by most of the 28-nation EU bloc - is aimed at easing pressure on Italy and Greece, the EU's main entry points for hundreds of thousands of people mainly fleeing war in Syria. It would also take some pressure off Germany, which has absorbed the largest number of migrants. Opposition parties and human rights groups held protests ahead of the vote, accusing the Hungarian government of stoking xenophobia given the lack of asylum-seekers in the country. "This referendum is an effort to mobilize fear and hatred," economist Tamas Bauer told the AFP news agency at a rally in Budapest on Friday. The plebiscite also threatens to further split the EU, already weakened by its worst migration crisis since post-World War II and the UK's decision to leave the EU. Hungary led anti-migrant backlash Hungary was the first country to erect a wall on its border and ban migrants, including refugees, from entering its territory, with several other countries later following its example. In December it and Slovakia also filed a legal challenge to the EU quota plan. More than 400,000 refugees, mainly fleeing war and strife in Syria and Iraq, transited through Hungary toward northern Europe in 2015 before Hungary sealed its southern frontier with razor wire and enacted tough anti-migrant laws. Other countries on the overland Balkan route followed, stranding some 60,000 migrants in Greece, who are now languishing in refugee centers. An EU-Turkey deal struck in March halted much of the influx, but its future remains in doubt following a summer coup attempt and increasingly strained relations between EU leaders and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Hungarians have begun voting on the EU’s refugee quota in a referendum likely to reject EU quotas. Hungary has barely accepted any refugees and has been a leader among European nations rejecting any EU-wide resettlement. Polling opened at 6 a.m. (0400 UTC) Sunday and will remain open until 7 p.m. local time as Hungarians are asked to weigh in on ... Read More »

German President Joachim Gauck backs new security proposals

German President Joachim Gauck has said he supports a raft of new security measures proposed earlier this week. Speaking in a TV interview, he also backed the refugee policy of Chancellor Angela Merkel. German President Joachim Gauck has thrown his support behind a security package put forward by Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere earlier this week In an interview with broadcaster ZDF that airs on Sunday, Gauck said that like de Maiziere he was against debating laws prohibiting Muslim women from covering their faces, a burqa ban and rescinding citizenship of some dual nationals for a broad array of terror crimes. Germany must evaluate various security threats and determine whether they justify curbing the freedoms of citizens, Gauck said. De Maiziere put forward a new security package on Thursday in response to a recent series of violent incidents and potential security threats from migrants. An axe attack on a train near the Bavarian town of Würzburg on July 18, claimed by the self-declared "Islamic State," injured several travelers. Less than a week later, in a separate attack, a man set off an explosive device near an open-air music festival in the Bavarian town of Ansbach, killing himself and wounding a dozen others. At the time, authorities said an Islamist motive was "likely." Germany no 'sinking ship' Despite any number of problems in Germany, Gauck said the country was still strong. "The country is not like a sinking ship in the middle of a powerful hurricane," Gauck said. "Rather, there are just gusts of wind rocking the boat." These gusts of wind confuse society and make some people feel unsecure, he added. Still, the president said he backed Chancellor Angela Merkel's oft-repeated phrase, "We can do it," to described the country's ability to handle the refugee crisis. "The chancellor and I follow the same line, we only use different language," he said.

German President Joachim Gauck has said he supports a raft of new security measures proposed earlier this week. Speaking in a TV interview, he also backed the refugee policy of Chancellor Angela Merkel. German President Joachim Gauck has thrown his support behind a security package put forward by Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere earlier this week In an interview with ... Read More »

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