Merkel appeals to German voters with burqa ban promise

SBS World News Radio: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for the banning of the burqa, describing the full veil as inappropriate headwear in the country.

Merkel appeals to German voters with burqa ban promise

Merkel appeals to German voters with burqa ban promise Source: AAP

Laying out her claim for a fourth term as German leader, she's promised a tougher stance on immigration after a record influx of refugees.

Meeting at a party convention in the city of Essen, Germany's Christian Democrats gave Angela Merkel another ringing endorsement as leader, winning the vote of almost ninety per cent of delegates.

Chancellor Merkel has been under internal pressure over her decision last year to open Germany's doors to almost a million migrants and faces an election next year.

In her acceptance speech, she addressed the issue head-on, telling the crowd not all of those who came during the record influx could be allowed to stay.

She says Germany is working hard with other countries to stem the human flow towards Europe.

"A situation like that of late summer 2015 must not, should not and cannot repeat itself. This has been and is my and our political goal. And we have been working for this for many many months, for the good of all the people here in Germany, in Europe and for the good of the refugees, so they are not continuously made the victims of people smugglers."

She reiterated her views about the burqa, drawing applause from the crowd when she described the full-face Muslim veil as incompatible with German culture.

"In interpersonal communication, which plays a fundamental role here, we show our face. And that's why a full veil is inappropriate in our country. It should be banned wherever legally possible. It does not belong in our country."

France introduced a burqa ban five years ago but neighbour Germany has so far resisted because of concerns it would breach constitutional rights.

Angela Merkel was speaking against a backdrop of uncertainty in Europe.

Her country is shaken by Italy's referendum rebuff this week, Britain's decision to leave the European Union and Donald Trump's election to the United States presidency.

Germany has received some reassuring words about its alliance from US Secretary of State John Kerry, in Berlin to receive the country's Order of Merit award.

"We're going to be OK. We are going make it folks and I'm absolutely confident about that, we just have to keep our heads about it and stay steady and keep working in the same direction and this alliance is not just about the United States and Germany, this alliance critical to everybody on this planet because of what we believe about human beings, about opportunity, about freedom, and about the rule of law."

And with Britain's bid to exit the EU locked in a Supreme Court legal battle, Angela Merkel has issued a warning to the UK that it won't be allowed to selectively choose what parts of its European alliance it wants to keep.

"Brexit negotiations are threatening to weaken the domestic market and there is huge pressure on the four basic freedoms of Europe. We will not allow any cherry picking. The four basic freedoms must be safeguarded - freedom of movement for people, goods, services and financial market products. Only then can there be access to the single market. That has to be the maxim of the negotiations with Great Britain!"


3 min read
Published 7 December 2016 at 11:00am
By Gareth Boreham