Merkel promises no tax increases in refugee crisis

2015-10-11 21:29
Angela Merkel (AP)

Angela Merkel (AP)

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Berlin - Growing numbers of asylum seekers in Germany will not lead to tax rises, Chancellor Angela Merkel promised in an interview with the daily Bild to be published on Monday.

"We are lucky that we have been economically prudent for years and that our economy is currently strong," the chancellor said in comments made available to dpa on Sunday.

Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, chairperson of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), meanwhile, accused fellow members of the coalition government, Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Bavaria's Christian Social Union (CSU), of "helplessness" in the refugee crisis.

The two conservative parties are torn between the chancellor's can-do approach and calls by Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer of the CSU to close the borders.

Gabriel said during an SPD strategy meeting in the western city of Mainz that the Social Democrats had to offer their own response to the integration of migrants.

Germany has to show solidarity with asylum seekers while also taking seriously Germans' fears, he said. Migrants and Germans should not be played off against each other, he said.

At the same time, Gabriel emphasized his party's loyalty to the government and to Merkel in particular: "Her fiercest opponents are not among us. They are members of the CDU and CSU."

However, everyone knows that Germany is not able to take more than a million asylum seekers each year "unconditionally and permanently”, Gabriel said. "Angela Merkel knows this too, but she doesn't say it”.

Germany's official forecast for arrivals by asylum seekers this year stands at 800 000 while the Social Democrats are expecting more than a million.

In a related development, arsonists in Trassenheide on the Baltic island of Usedom carried out an attack on a building intended to be used as a refugee shelter. No one was injured, and damage to the building was minimal, police said.

Three drunk men aged 25 to 42 also entered a temporary refugee shelter in the eastern German town of Gera. The men had been carrying a pellet gun and a knife, which were confiscated, police said.

Read more on:    angela merkel  |  germany  |  migrants

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