Europe still 'hasn't done homework' on refugees: Merkel

Martin Schulz

The arrival in Germany of a million refugees over the last two years, mainly from Syria and Iraq, opened deep rifts in Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party and is becoming a campaign theme ahead of a September 24 national election.

"I'd make all the important decisions of 2015 the same way again", Merkel said.

With less than a month until the German elections, Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her Open Borders Policy for illegal migrants on German television over the weekend.

"We can neither push ourselves off nor cut off, but we must fight the causes of refugee and migration, "said Merkel".

Merkel and Macron said they were concerned that the security situation in eastern Ukraine had not significantly improved since they held a four-way telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko in the so-called Normandy format on August 22.

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Merkel also spoke out the same day in an interview with rival German broadcaster ZDF. They show Merkel's conservative bloc leading by 13-17 points over her main challenger, Martin Schulz of the centre-left Social Democrats.

The Normandy format will find a solution that would solve the conflict in Donbas, she said.

"The last four years of the Kohl era was a period of stagnation and political agony", he added. Independent journalism is a basic pillar of democracy that can "never be questioned, even when it is uncomfortable", she had said.

Mrs Merkel also attacked European Union countries that refused to accept migrants as part of a redistribution plan, explaining that such behaviour is "not on".

A number of Merkel's campaign appearances have been disrupted by protesters from the AfD, which has gained support by denouncing Merkel's open-border refugee policy, especially in the former communist east.

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'We're a democracy and everyone can freely express themselves in public the way they want, ' she said.

At least one reporter wanted to know why Merkel only appeared once a year for a major press conference on her own, accusing the chancellor of being more media shy than President Donald Trump or Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Assad is stronger than I would like him to be", she admitted.

"I would wish for better relations but that has to do with adhering to rule of law principles, something we don't see in Turkey at the moment", she said.

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