German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged on the last day of 2016 that her government would do everything possible to ensure public safety, as she is readying for a tough re-election campaign in 2017. Admitting that the biggest challenge was Islamic terrorism, Mrs. Merkel referred to the three terrorist attacks that Germany went through in 2016 including the December truck attack at a Berlin Christmas market. “Our state does everything to guarantee its citizens security and freedom… In 2017, our government will promptly get under way and implement measures where policy or law changes are necessary,” she reassured.
The bloody attack at the Christmas market in central Berlin further fueled the debate about security and Mrs. Merkel’s decision to welcome a million asylum seekers in Germany – the topic that will very likely dominate the pre-election campaign this year. The truck attack of 19 December was committed by Tunisian migrant Anis Amri who had been on the blacklist of 550 potentially dangerous Islamists set up by the German authorities, though these failed to expel him despite his asylum application having been rejected.
The chancellor, however, said that while the fact that the three terror attacks of 2016 were committed by migrants was “especially bitter and appalling”, she had faith that Germany would vanquish terrorism without compromising its free democratic principles. Mrs. Merkel once again defended her decision to take in the refugees and indicated that her country should not cap the number of refugees it takes in and that Europe’s internal borders should remain open. “Togetherness, openness, our democracy and a strong economy that serves the well being of everyone, that is what makes me confident for our future in Germany even at the end of a difficult year,” she said.