German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared as resolute as ever about the decision to take in hundreds of thousands of refugees. It has been one year since she first declared “we can do this”.
In an interview with the German Süddeutsche Zeitung published online on August 30, Merkel said she never expected the words “we can do this” to be often repeated – and mocked.
“If you asked me before if I would introduce a distinctive phrase that would be quoted many times over, I would not have thought of this phrase,” she said.
Asked about a drop in her popularity in public opinion polls following several violent attacks in July that involved one Afghan refugee and a Syrian national (both were reportedly in contact with members of Islamic State), Merkel said it was “completely understandable” that there has been “unease and concern” following the attacks.
She stressed, however, that terrorism did not arrive from abroad. “It is simply false that terrorism only first came here through refugees. It was already here, especially with the suspected terrorists that we have been monitoring.”
According to The Washington Post, Merkel and the European Commission have made little headway with efforts to get other EU nations to share the burden of hosting the refugees who arrived in the current influx.