Bavaria governor criticizes Merkel’s ‘we will manage’ mantra
BERLIN (AP) — Bavaria’s governor distanced himself anew Saturday from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mantra that “we will manage” the refugee crisis following several attacks in Germany, including two committed by asylum-seekers and claimed by Islamic State extremists.
Three of the four attacks in Germany since July 18, among them the IS-claimed ones, took place in Bavaria. The deadliest incident — the Munich shooting in which an 18-year-old killed nine people then himself — didn’t involve Islamic extremism.
Merkel and Bavarian governor Horst Seehofer, a conservative ally, have disagreed publicly for months over her welcoming approach last year to refugees.
At a news conference Thursday, Merkel firmly defended her policies and repeated her insistence that Germany “will manage” integrating asylum-seekers and other challenges, a phrase that has irked critics but helped make her Time magazine’s “person of the year” for 2015.
“With the best will, I can’t embrace this sentence,” Seehofer told reporters Saturday after a meeting of his state Cabinet in Bavaria. “The problems are too big for that and the solutions we have so far too unsatisfactory.”
Seehofer said border checks still need to be improved, among other things.
Merkel on Thursday pledged to do “everything humanly possible” to keep Germany safe.
She called for a better “early warning system” against signs of radicalization, faster progress on plans to create a center to help crack encrypted messages and better international intelligence cooperation, among other measures. But she said it’s too early to say what more may be required beyond tightening asylum and security laws.
More than 1 million asylum-seekers were registered in Germany in 2015. Numbers have since dropped dramatically, and Merkel says a repeat of last year’s influx has been “ruled out.”
In Berlin, police estimated 1,300 people held a right-wing march Saturday under the slogan “Merkel must go” — a protest smaller than similar ones earlier this year.