Saturday 24 February 2018

No new tax to help pay for migrants: Merkel

Adam Smith Berlin

Germany won't raise taxes to help pay for the hundreds of thousands of refugees and other migrants who have been flooding into the country, Chancellor Angela Merkel has insisted.

Germany expects at least 800,000 newcomers this year if not more, but Ms Merkel said the country can cope.

"We can be pleased that we have been well managed for years and that our economic situation is currently good," she said.

Ms Merkel, who has seen her popularity dip slightly amid concerns over the drastic increase in asylum seekers, also sought to allay fears that the numbers could overwhelm the country's healthcare system.

Nobody should "worry that a refugee will take away from their own quality of care".


Meanwhile, Germany's new government coordinator for refugees and other migrants said the country can manage the flood of newcomers, but must streamline its systems for dealing with them.

Peter Altmaier, Ms Merkel's chief of staff, said Germany "won't turn its back" on anyone in need and must reduce bureaucracy and speed up the asylum process. He added that Germany also needs to quickly send home those not truly needing asylum.

Germany has said that refugees fleeing Syria's civil war or other conflicts can almost be guaranteed to be given asylum.

Irish Independent

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