Refugees must return home once conflicts over: Merkel

Berlin, Jan 31 (IANS) German Chancellor Angela Merkel said war refugees from Syria and Iraq usually only enjoy temporary protection in Germany and most of them must go home once the conflicts there come to an end.

Merkel made the remarks on Saturday during a regional meeting of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

She said it was important to stress that most of the refugees who arrived in Germany in 2015 only received a temporary protection status.

The chancellor has come under fire for her welcoming policy toward refugees. Support for her conservative bloc has slipped as concerns mount about how Germany will integrate the 1.1 million asylum seekers who came to the country last year.

“We expect, once there is peace in Syria again, once the IS has been defeated in Iraq, that you go back to your home country with the knowledge that you have gained,” Merkel said.

She added that 70 percent of the refugees who fled to Germany from former Yugoslavia in the 1990s had returned to their homeland later.

Speaking of the EU’s response to the refugee issue, Merkel admitted that she was disappointed with the current cooperation within the bloc, and urged other European countries to offer more help “because the numbers need to be reduced even further and must not start to rise again, especially in spring”.

All EU states, she added, would suffer if the internal passport-free Schengen zone collapsed and national borders were closed.

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