German Chancellor Merkel vows to speed up repatriation of migrants denied asylum

Migrants arriving at the Austrian train station of Nickelsdorf to board trains to Germany on Sept 5, 2016.
Migrants arriving at the Austrian train station of Nickelsdorf to board trains to Germany on Sept 5, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN (REUTERS) - Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday (Sept 7) vowed to continue efforts to strengthen security at home and speed up repatriations of migrants who were denied asylum in Germany, but insisted the overall situation was much better now than a year ago.

Dr Merkel, whose conservative party lost significant ground to the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in a regional election on Sunday, struck a defiant tone in a speech to parliament, denying that the influx of hundreds of thousands of migrants would cut benefits for Germans as some have feared.

She also defended her handling of German-Turkish relations and said a European Union deal with Ankara to curb the flow of migrants was necessary and could serve as a model for agreements with other countries.