In speech to ruling party, Chancellor Merkel manages to come down on both sides of refugee issue

German chancellor Angela Merkel is in trouble with her own party, as a political backlash has been forming because of her wide-open-door policy for refugees.  But in addressing the issue in a speech before her Christian Democratic Union coalition, Merkel surprised many observers when she admitted there were limits to the number of refugees Germany can accept.  She also said that multiculturalism doesn't work, saying that it "leads to parallel societies and therefore remains a 'life lie.'"

New York Times:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who just last week was named TIME magazine’s 2015 Person of the Year for her stance on the refugee crisis, received a seven-minute (or nine-minuteaccording to some reports) standing ovation Monday for a speech at her ruling Christian Democratic Union congress in which she promised to “tangibly reduce” the number of refugees coming into her country. Still, The Independent reported, she said it was Germany’s humanitarian duty to take in war refugees. “We are going to manage this — if there are obstacles to overcome, then we will have to work to overcome them. We are ready to show what we are made of.” Germany has taken in an estimated one million refugees this year. 

Another noteworthy theme that turned up in Merkel’s speech was disdain for multiculturalism, according to The Washington Post. “Multiculturalism leads to parallel societies and therefore remains a ‘life lie,’” the chancellor said.  She went on to say that Germany may be reaching its limit in terms of accepting more refugees. “The challenge is immense,” she said. “We want and we will reduce the number of refugees noticeably.” The remarks, coming just days after being praised in the pages of pages of TIME for “standing firm against tyranny” may surprise some. But, as the Post notes, the stance echoes remarks she made five years ago.

In a 2010 speech, Merkel denounced multiculturalism in no uncertain terms, saying, “Of course the tendency had been to say, ‘Let’s adopt the multicultural concept and live happily side by side, and be happy to be living with each other.’ But this concept has failed, and failed utterly.”

Merkel is bucking a trend in Europe, where most countries embrace the concept of multiculturalism.  It's easier than trying to assimilate newcomers via the "melting pot" ideal, and Muslims, in many cases, prefer hanging on to their own ways rather than adopting new ones.

While the pace of refugees landing on Europe's shores has not abated, most EU countries are tightening their borders while slowing the number of refugees who are accepted.  This has led to bottlenecks, where refugees are housed in temporary quarters until their cases can be addressed.  Merkel's bow to reality seems genuine enough, but it probably won't satisfy many of the anti-immigrant parties who think she's already gone way too far.

German chancellor Angela Merkel is in trouble with her own party, as a political backlash has been forming because of her wide-open-door policy for refugees.  But in addressing the issue in a speech before her Christian Democratic Union coalition, Merkel surprised many observers when she admitted there were limits to the number of refugees Germany can accept.  She also said that multiculturalism doesn't work, saying that it "leads to parallel societies and therefore remains a 'life lie.'"

New York Times:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who just last week was named TIME magazine’s 2015 Person of the Year for her stance on the refugee crisis, received a seven-minute (or nine-minuteaccording to some reports) standing ovation Monday for a speech at her ruling Christian Democratic Union congress in which she promised to “tangibly reduce” the number of refugees coming into her country. Still, The Independent reported, she said it was Germany’s humanitarian duty to take in war refugees. “We are going to manage this — if there are obstacles to overcome, then we will have to work to overcome them. We are ready to show what we are made of.” Germany has taken in an estimated one million refugees this year. 

Another noteworthy theme that turned up in Merkel’s speech was disdain for multiculturalism, according to The Washington Post. “Multiculturalism leads to parallel societies and therefore remains a ‘life lie,’” the chancellor said.  She went on to say that Germany may be reaching its limit in terms of accepting more refugees. “The challenge is immense,” she said. “We want and we will reduce the number of refugees noticeably.” The remarks, coming just days after being praised in the pages of pages of TIME for “standing firm against tyranny” may surprise some. But, as the Post notes, the stance echoes remarks she made five years ago.

In a 2010 speech, Merkel denounced multiculturalism in no uncertain terms, saying, “Of course the tendency had been to say, ‘Let’s adopt the multicultural concept and live happily side by side, and be happy to be living with each other.’ But this concept has failed, and failed utterly.”

Merkel is bucking a trend in Europe, where most countries embrace the concept of multiculturalism.  It's easier than trying to assimilate newcomers via the "melting pot" ideal, and Muslims, in many cases, prefer hanging on to their own ways rather than adopting new ones.

While the pace of refugees landing on Europe's shores has not abated, most EU countries are tightening their borders while slowing the number of refugees who are accepted.  This has led to bottlenecks, where refugees are housed in temporary quarters until their cases can be addressed.  Merkel's bow to reality seems genuine enough, but it probably won't satisfy many of the anti-immigrant parties who think she's already gone way too far.