Merkel visits refugee accommodation

Angela Merkel visited a refugee shelter in Heidenau on Wednesday, the first time she has made a such a visit. While there she condemned violence against those seeking asylum as "repulsive and a source of shame". Shortly before the visit Berlin had suspended the Dublin agreement for Syrians, which means they will no longer be returned to the EU country in which they arrived. The German Chancellor has taken the lead in Europe's refugee policy, some commentators write approvingly. Others wish that appreciation of politicians would extend beyond their commitment to refugees.

Open/close all quotes
La Vanguardia (ES) /

Merkel points the way for Europe

With her resolute action against xenophobia, Angela Merkel is demonstrating the kind of strong leadership that has been lacking in Europe, the conservative daily La Vanguardia writes in approval: "Only recently Merkel said that the Greek crisis and the euro crisis would be small problems compared to the migration crisis. There is no simple solution to this problem. But we must recognise that Merkel has acted swiftly and vigorously on this matter. This may be viewed as a demonstration of power, which is only natural given Germany's role as the most important and stable economy. But it also testifies to Merkel's faith in the European project and true commitment to humanitarian values. And that deserves our support."

Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Hour of glory for refugee helpers

Following Merkel's visit to a refugee shelter in Heidenau, those who are helping the refugees should now receive the attention they deserve, writes the public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk: "The hour of glory has come for those who work every day to ensure good relations between Germans and refugees. In Heidenau, in Dresden and in other parts of Germany. They are not as loud or aggressive as those who rail against foreigners and people seeking protection. Many of the helpers prefer to work in obscurity, either out of fear of hostile reactions or out of modesty. They don't take up so much of our air time. And that is really a scandal, because they are defending an open-minded Germany and the right to asylum in places where there are no cameras or microphones. They use arguments to fight for the support of those who might otherwise join the loudmouths who claim to have simple solutions."

Heti Válasz (HU) /

Merkel makes Orbán and his fence look silly

Germany's refugee policy exposes the futility of the Hungarian border fence, according to the Conservative weekly newspaper Heti Válasz: "The following has occurred: Angela Merkel has taken a massive wire cutter and sliced through the Hungarian border fence. After Germany's announcement that practically all Syrians will be considered as refugees, or in other words that they will be accepted in Germany, the border fence seems even more pointless and redundant than it did before. This impression is reinforced when we consider that the same will also apply for the Iraqis, even if it hasn't been said explicitly; indeed, almost half of the Afghanis are to be offered asylum in Germany."