German opposition party accuses Merkel of having "no answers" to refugee crisis

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-04 21:51:07|Editor: Song Lifang
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BERLIN, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- The head of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) faction in the German Federal Parliament, Thomas Oppermann, attacked the immigration policy of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) on Friday in an interview with German newspaper Die Zeit.

"Ms. Merkel does not want to address the subject of refugees, because she has no answers," Oppermann said.

The challenges posed by the arrival of refugees and migrants since 2015 cannot be ignored and need answers, according to Oppermann. By leaving the subject to populist forces such as the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, the government risks strengthening anti-democratic and intolerant forces in German society.

Oppermann praised proposals made by his party leader Martin Schulz to award European Union funds to countries which accepted refugees, and cut payments to those which refused to participate in burden-sharing measures.

"Schulz wants to create incentives for communities in all of Europe to accept refugees. Ms. Merkel has attended many EU summits, but the distribution of refugees in Europe still does not work," he said.

Most importantly, however, Germany urgently required a new immigration law, according to Oppermann. The SPD has tabled proposals for a "points system" in which migrants are selected based on their suitability for the German labor market as indicated by their qualifications and language skills.

For Oppermann it was important to make a clear distinction between asylum seekers and migrants.

"Asylum is for those that need us, an immigration law is for those whom we need," he told Die Zeit quoting former chancellor Richard von Weizsaecker.

Oppermann emphasized that migration had to be organized in a way which received the support of the majority of Germans.

Nearly a million people came to the country in 2015.

"That looked like a loss of control and in part it was. Afterwards, the CDU stepped hard on the breaks and took an increasingly harsh stance...but all the while Merkel has postponed enacting the urgently-needed immigration law."

The SPD faction leader said he wanted to preserve the right to asylum, alongside passing an immigration law, to enable and manage the migration of laborers. For those who fell into neither camp, Germany would have to continue to join the international effort to create opportunities in their home countries.

In the interview, Oppermann insisted that Schulz still stood a chance in his race for the chancellorship against the incumbent Merkel. Germans will elect a Federal Parliament in September.