Angela Merkel admits she lost control of refugee crisis in Germany and would 'turn back time' if she could

'No one wants a repeat of last year's situation'

Samuel Osborne
Thursday 22 September 2016 09:31 BST
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German Chancellor and Chairwoman of the German Christian Democratic Party (CDU), Angela Merkel, attends a press conference in Berlin, Germany, Monday, 19 September, 2016, the day after her party endured a second setback in a state election in two weeks
German Chancellor and Chairwoman of the German Christian Democratic Party (CDU), Angela Merkel, attends a press conference in Berlin, Germany, Monday, 19 September, 2016, the day after her party endured a second setback in a state election in two weeks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel wishes she could turn back the clock on her refugee policy, she has admitted.

Ms Merkel took responsibility for her conservative party's second electoral defeat in two weeks in Berlin on Sunday, as voters rejected her open-door policy just a year before a federal election.

"For some time, we didn't have enough control," the chancellor said in a speech on Monday. "No one wants a repeat of last year's situation, including me."

She also said if she could she would "turn back time by many, many years" to prepare Germany for the influx of refugees.

She also distanced herself from her phrase "wir shaffen das" ("we will manage") on integrating refugees, which has been widely criticised by political foes in the CSU as well as the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which is winning votes.

Her admission has been seen as an attempt to mend relations with the conservative Bavarian Christian Democratic Union (CDU), who have repeatedly voiced anger at her decision to let in a million refugees in the last year.

The CSU accounts for around 20 per cent of the conservative bloc of votes in the federal parliament, and Ms Merkel needs its support to stand again as chancellor.

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Her speech has also been seen as a strong hint she will seek a fourth term as German chancellor.

Both Spiegel Online and top-selling daily Bild clearly interpreted her remarks as a clear signal that she would stand again.

"There can be no doubt over whether she will run again," Bild wrote in an editorial.

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