BERLIN, September 17, 2018 (News Wires) - Chancellor Angela Merkel has decided that Germany’s domestic intelligence agency chief must go because she thinks he has meddled in day-to-day politics, newspaper Die Welt cited coalition sources as saying.
Hans-Georg Maassen, head of the BfV domestic intelligence agency, has come under fire after he cast doubt on the authenticity of video footage showing far-right protesters chasing migrants after the fatal stabbing of a German man.
Merkel’s junior coalition partners, the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), want conservative Interior Minister Horst Seehofer to fire Maassen over his remarks, but he has so far refused to do so. The coalition partners are due to meet on Tuesday to discuss Maassen’s future.
BERLIN, September 12, 2018 (News Wires) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel appealed to European Union members to show solidarity to ensure the Frontex border agency has sufficient powers to be effective and help stop illegal migration, in line with European Commission plans.
“The question of fighting illegal migration means we have to strengthen external border protection ... that means also that the countries with an external border must give up some of their national responsibilities,” Merkel told parliament on Wednesday.
“That requires a degree of solidarity, it is about people coming to us or our duty to make legal migration possible to help countries that are in trouble,” she added.
BERLIN, September 6, 2018 (News Wires) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday distanced herself from remarks made by the leader of her Bavarian allies, who had said "migration is the mother of all problems."
"I say it differently," Merkel told the RTL broadcaster when asked to comment on the remarks made by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who is also leader of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU).
Merkel added: "Migration presents us with challenges and here we have problems but also successes."
BERLIN, August 13, 2018 (News Wires) — Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office says she plans weekend talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Germany on issues including the development of a contentious Baltic Sea natural gas pipeline.
Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said Monday the two leaders will meet Saturday at the German government’s guest house outside Berlin.
The Nord Stream 2 project will add to an existing direct Russian-German pipeline, increasing the amount of natural gas Russia can send to central Europe skirting transit countries to Germany’s east. Several eastern European countries object to the plan, which the United States also opposes.
Seibert says Germany’s position is it’s “important Ukraine retains a role as a transit country” for Russian gas.
The leaders will also discuss ending the Syrian conflict, the situation in eastern Ukraine and bilateral topics.
BERLIN, July 20, 2018 (News Wires) - Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged Friday that a bitter fight over migrant policy hurt Germans' confidence in her government, but said she never thought of quitting and insisted that her administration is doing solid work.
Merkel's fourth-term government took office in March after a six-month effort to put together a new governing coalition. So far, it has been remarkable chiefly for the spat within Merkel's own two-party conservative bloc that threatened to bring down the administration earlier this month.
Leaders eventually agreed to turn back migrants who have already sought asylum in another European nation under yet-to-be-reached bilateral deals.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer had previously threatened to turn back migrants unilaterally at Germany's border in defiance of Merkel, who insisted that Berlin must not take action that would further undermine the unity of the European Union.
Merkel said at her annual summer news conference that the issue raises a "fundamental question" that was worth arguing over, even though migration to Germany is far lower now than at the height of the influx of refugees and migrants in 2015 and 2016.
She acknowledged that "the tone (of the debate) was often very harsh," adding that politicians should be more cautious in their choice of words.
"I think that some have already tried to take that to heart," she said.
Although she didn't elaborate, Bavarian governor Markus Soeder - a leading member of Seehofer's party - has recently backed off talk of the need to end "asylum tourism."
Merkel emphasized her government's actions in other policy areas, such as efforts to help the long-term unemployed, secure pensions and boost the nursing profession.
"We have achieved a great deal more than has perhaps been perceived externally, but we have ourselves to blame for that," she said. "So we will see that we conduct conflicts - and I say again that there will be more - in such a way that the results do not fade into the background."
BRUSSELS, July 11, 2018 (News Wires) - Chancellor Angela Merkel recalled her own youth in Soviet-dominated East Germany and said Germany was independent in its policy choices in a pointed response to US President Donald Trump saying Berlin was “totally controlled by Russia”.
Three hours after Trump’s startling tirade over German imports of Russian gas and its slowness to increase defence spending, Merkel told reporters on arrival at a NATO summit in Brussels on Wednesday: “I have experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union.
“I am very happy that today we are united in freedom, the Federal Republic of Germany. Because of that we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions. That is very good, especially for people in eastern Germany.”
She also defended Germany’s contribution to an alliance which Trump says has placed too much burden on the US taxpayer: “Germany does a lot for NATO,” she said.
“Germany is the second largest provider of troops, the largest part of our military capacity is offered to NATO and until today we have a strong engagement towards Afghanistan. In that we also defend the interests of the United States.”