In Brief

Angela Merkel rules out migrant policy reversal

German chancellor pledges to defend freedom and democracy but says she will improve security with extra police

Germany will not change its refugee policy, despite the recent wave of terror attacks in the country, Angela Merkel said this morning.

The German chancellor told a Berlin news conference that terrorists "want to make us lose sight of what is important to use, break down our cohesion and sense of community as well as inhibiting our way of life".

Ms Merkel's pledge to defend freedom and democracy while improving security will include plans to create more police officers over the next few years and to deploy the German Army in terror attacks. There are also plans to boost the exchange of intelligence with the US, reports the New York Times.

But the recent spate of terror attacks in Germany has underlined growing tensions in the Merkel government, according to the Wall Street Journal. Bavarian Justice Minister Winfried Bausback, told the paper: "Only social romantics can assume that it's enough to react now with more psychologists and more help."

The wave of atrocities is also fuelling anti-migrant feelings in Germany, a country that took in more than one million asylum seekers last year at the height of the refugee crisis. The Independent says Ms Merkel may have hailed last year's decision to allow Syrian refugees to remain under the slogan "Wir schaffen das!" ("We can do it!"), but the positive mood darkened after the New Year's Eve sex attacks in Cologne.

Opposition parties and rebels from Ms Merkel's own conservative bloc are using that sentiment to accuse her of exposing the country to an unacceptable level of risk, says The Guardian.

Bavarian interior minister Joachim Herrmann has called for "urgent action from the federal government and Europe".

The German chancellor's liberal stance on migration still has public support, says Daniela Schwarzer in the Financial Times – but only because the numbers entering Germany "fell dramatically after a fragile deal with Turkey this year".

According to Schwarzer, the tone of the debate in Germany could change if there are more terror attacks and more evidence appears linking refugees to terrorist organisations.

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