Germany should build a fence against refugees, says chief of German police union

Call comes after Chancellor Angela Merkel said last week that the EU should strengthen its external borders

Jess Staufenberg
Monday 19 October 2015 19:03 BST
The Hungarian government has already erected a steel fence on its southern border
The Hungarian government has already erected a steel fence on its southern border

The chief of the German police union has called for a fence along the country's border to set "an example" for other countries amid the ongoing refugee crisis.

Opposing Chancellor Angela Merkel's stance of welcoming those fleeing war, Rainer Wendt signalled his desire that Germany follow the Hungarian approach of building a wall, in the interview with the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

He said this was necessary to keep "internal order" in the country, and said social unrest was likely if Ms Merkel pursued her policy of open borders.

About 200,000 refugees have had their asylum applications accepted in the first seven months of 2015 in Germany. The highest number of 190,000 came through in August, while across the EU the number is thought to be about 710,000 refugees.

Chief of police union Rainer Wendt told a German newspaper that "social unrest" would break out if the country's borders were not controlled

Vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said in September that predictions of 800,000 refugees fleeing war and poverty by the end of the year could be closer to one million, according to Al Jazeera.

In interview, Mr Wendt said the move to close the border would trigger a chain reaction in other countries, and prevent more refugees from seeking to come over.

"If we close our borders in this way, Austria will also close the border with Slovenia. That's exactly the effect we need," he told the Welt am Sonntag.

And Mr Wendt added that tough measures - like the construction of a fence along the border with Austria - were crucial if the country were "to carry out serious border controls."

His comments are in direct contrast to the German government's criticism of a 3.5-metre fence built by Hungary along its 108-mile border with Serbia.

Another suggestion, that genuine asylum seekers might be "filtered out" at refugee transit zones along Germany's border, was also supported by Mr Wendt - as it is by Mrs Merkel - despite this being sharply criticised by the Social Democrats as "inhumane" and "like concentration camps".

The Spiegel Online ran a piece at the weekend saying the country was "showing signs of strain" in some towns and villages where infrastructure was not keeping up with the number of people arriving.

The article claimed that Ms Merkel was increasingly isolated, and would now rely on Turkish president Recep Erdogan to slow the number of refugees entering Europe from warzones. She made a call for the EU to strengthen its external borders last week, the BBC reported.

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