BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose conservative party faces possible defeat in an election in her home state on Sunday, rejected charges by anti-immigrant critics that her government was spending less on Germans due to a large influx of refugees.
In an interview published in Saturday’s edition of Bild newspaper, Merkel also strongly defended her decision, one year ago this weekend, to open the door to hundreds of thousands of refugees mostly fleeing conflicts in the Middle East.
“We did not reduce benefits for anyone in Germany as a result of the aid for refugees. In fact, we actually saw social improvements in some areas,” Merkel said.
“We took nothing away from people here. We are still achieving our big goal of maintaining and improving the quality of life in Germany,” she said, a day before a critical vote in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
The big influx of refugees and migrants has dragged her approval ratings to a five-year low of 45 percent, but Merkel was unapologetic and said, faced with the same situation today, she would act no differently. MORE
SNIP: Why do suicidal people like Merkel want others to join them?