News_new year's address_02012017

"Together we are stronger"

Berlin (dpa) – Chancellor Angela Merkel warned in her new year's address on Saturday of the terrorist threat facing Germany, saying that her government will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure the country's security.

In a television broadcast, she once again strongly defended her controversial decision in September 2015 to open Germany's borders to refugees and migrants stranded in Hungary.

The chancellor said the bombing of Aleppo in Syria had shown "how important and correct" it had been to offer protection to those fleeing the horrors of war.

Merkel said that the series of terrorist attacks in Germany in 2016 - culminating in the December lorry attack on a Berlin Christmas market in which 12 people were killed - had been a severe test for the nation.

It was without doubt that Islamist terrorists have been targeting Germans for many years, she said, also referring to a July attack on a train in Bavaria by a 17-year-old Afghan refugee.

The chancellor told the nation that it was "particularly bitter and repugnant when terrorist attacks are committed by people who are in our country allegedly seeking protection," accusing them of taunting those who tried to help them.

But she said her conservative-led government would continue to boost the nation's security in 2017 saying, Berlin "will implement as fast as possible, measures where political or legal changes are necessary."

"Together we are stronger," said Merkel, adding that the state was stronger than what she described as "the hate-filled world of terrorism."

Many have the feeling that in 2016 "the world as a whole world had come apart," Merkel said, noting the pressure on the European Union as well as claims that parliamentary democratic systems were only acting in their own interests.

She acknowledged some of the criticism facing Europe, saying that Europe as a whole must find the answers to the challenges it faces.

"And we Germans have every interest in playing a leading role in it," Merkel said.