The European Union’s fate rests on its ability to rise to the challenges of the migration debate, Chancellor Angela Merkel told the German parliament on Thursday ahead of a crunch summit in Brussels that will be dominated by the matter.
In a passionate address to the Bundestag, an embattled Merkel tried to win over critics from within her own ranks, defending her 2015 decision to open Germany’s doors to a million migrants as a necessary step of help to its neighbours.
Calling for refugee harbouring agreements with African countries mirroring those that the EU sealed with Turkey, Merkel told a rowdy legislature that with falling migrant numbers, the tighter immigration controls of before 2015 must be re-established.
“Europe faces many challenges but that of migration could become the make-or-break one for the EU,” she concluded.
“Either we manage it, so others in Africa believe that we are guided by values and believe in multi-lateralism, not unilateralism, or nobody will believe any longer in the system of values that has made us strong,” she said. “That’s why it’s so important.”