News: The Federal Government

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TERRORIST ATTACK IN ISTANBUL

Inhuman attack

Chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned the purported terrorist attack in Istanbul. “Today international terrorism has once again shown its savage and inhuman face,” she said in Berlin. The German government is very concerned that some of the victims might be German, she reported.

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The suicide bomber detonated his device close to the Hagia Sophia in the heart of IstanbulPhoto: picture alliance / AP Photo

“At this time my thoughts are with the families of the victims and the injured,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel during the visit of Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal. “We will, of course, do all we can to organise as swift assistance as possible in conjunction with Turkey,” she said.

The German government currently has to assume that some of those injured in the attack were German nationals who were part of a group visiting Istanbul, said Angela Merkel. She said she was attempting to obtain as much information about the attack as swiftly as possible. Within the next few hours, she continued, she would be speaking by phone with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to discuss the situation.

Taking a firm line against terrorism

Angela Merkel condemned the attack, which she described as “savage” and “inhuman”. “We must note that today it hit Istanbul. It has hit Paris, it has hit Tunisia, it has already hit Ankara. In other words, international terrorism is today once again showing its savage and inhuman face.

Alongside our sorrow and grief, said the Chancellor, this attack demonstrates how essential it is to take firm and resolute action against terrorism. “This imperative will guide our actions, including all the investigations we must now conduct,” said Angela Merkel.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier says attack aimed to hit the heart of Istanbul

Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier declared, “We condemn this barbaric, cowardly act of terrorism in the strongest possible terms. It was aimed at the heart of the Turkish metropolis of Istanbul, which we all value as a cosmopolitan and outward-looking city. At this difficult time we stand side by side with Turkey. We mourn the victims of this murderous attack. Our thoughts are with their families and with all those whose loved ones are still unaccounted for.”

Crisis unit at Federal Foreign Office

The government’s crisis unit at the Federal Foreign Office convened immediately, reported Frank-Walter Steinmeier. He is working with the German Consulate-General in Istanbul and the German Embassy in Ankara to obtain reliable information about the attack and to establish the fate of those affected. “We are liaising closely with the Turkish authorities to this end,” said the Federal Foreign Minister.

Tuesday, 12. January 2016

PRIME MINISTER ABDELMALEK SELLAL IN BERLINAlgeria is an anchor of stability in the region

Chancellor Angela Merkel has stressed that Germany and Algeria are cooperating closely in the fight against terrorism. Algeria is an anchor of stability in the region she said during the visit of Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal. more

Tornado jets of the Tactical Air Force Wing 51 Immelmann take off from the Air Base at Incirlik on 6 January 2016

FIGHT AGAINST TERRORIST ORGANISATION ISTornado jets fly first missions

To support the fight against the terrorist organisation IS, the first German Tornado jets have taken off on reconnaissance missions. They have taken high resolution photos. The Bundeswehr has up to six Tornado jets stationed at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. more

Steffen Seibert, federal government spokesperson, during the government press conference at the federal press conference

SAUDI ARABIA/IRANA call to engage in dialogue

The German government is calling on Saudi Arabia and Iran to engage in dialogue. It has called on both states to leave no stone unturned in order to improve bilateral relations, said federal government spokesperson Steffen Seibert. The German government, he said, had noted with dismay the execution of prisoners in Saudi Arabia. more

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT DACIAN CIOLOŞ IN BERLIN

Angela Merkel aims to strengthen Schengen

Germany supports Romania in its efforts to join the Schengen Area, said the Chancellor after a meeting with Prime Minister Dacian Cioloş. She was critical of the payment of welfare benefits to migrants, she said, unless they are “based on work”.

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It was the first visit of Romania’s new President Dacian Cioloș to the Federal ChancelleryPhoto: Bundesregierung/Denzel

After her meeting with the new Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Cioloş, Chancellor Angela Merkel praised the good cooperation between the two states. For many reasons Romania is an important partner, she said – in the European Union and NATO, but also as a result of the emotional ties to Romania of many ethnic German Romanians who now live in Germany, and the ties to Germany on the part of Romania’s German minority.

Angela Merkel underscored the importance of the excellent economic relations the two countries enjoy, and reported that these are to be further expanded. This presupposes improvements in the legal system and administration in Romania, and that steps are taken to address the problem of corruption. Recently, remarkable successes have been recorded here, said the Chancellor.

Preserving and expanding Schengen

Other items on the agenda included securing the EU’s external borders and the question of the equitable sharing of responsibilities by EU member states, as well as Romania’s moves to join the Schengen Area. The Schengen project is “extremely topical”, said Angela Merkel. Everything should be done “to ensure that we can genuinely retain the freedom of movement within the borders of the Schengen Area”.

Angela Merkel described the Schengen Area as a factor that enables Europe to come together and as a factor in Europe’s economic growth. “That is why I believe that everything must be done to preserve Schengen.” The countries that are not yet part of the Schengen Area must be given the opportunity to join, she said.

Prime Minister Dacian Cioloş stressed that Romania is the second largest contributor to Frontex, the European border management agency, after Germany, and that it already acts like a Schengen member state in securing the EU’s external borders.

Rethinking welfare benefits

At the press conference, Angela Merkel also mentioned the matter of restricting the payment of welfare benefits to citizens of other EU states. Every Romanian coming to Germany to work is very welcome, she said. “But if individuals come only to obtain welfare benefits that are not based on work, as demanded by the ruling of the Federal Social Court, then I agree that it is reasonable to expect them to return to their own country,” declared Angela Merkel.

The fact that different social welfare systems exist in Europe must also be reflected in this, she added. “We must find ways to deal with this anomaly,” concluded the Chancellor.

Attacks in Cologne – taking a clear stance

Referring to the attacks in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, Angela Merkel once again described them as “disgusting criminal acts” which Germany is not prepared to tolerate. The events in Cologne raise serious questions, she continued, that go well beyond the city of Cologne. “We must regularly review and consider whether we have done everything necessary in terms of requiring non-German citizens to leave Germany and in terms of deportation, in order to take a very clear stance vis à vis those who are unwilling to respect our laws.”

Thursday, 7. January 2016

FOREIGN MISSION EXTENDEDBundeswehr to continue training Peshmerga

Germany is stepping up its fight against the terrorist organisation IS. Up to 150 German soldiers are to train Peshmerga fighters and members of the Iraqi security forces. The German Bundestag must still approve the Cabinet decision. more

THE CHANCELLOR’S NEW YEAR’S ADDRESSThe influx of refugees is „tomorrow’s opportunity“

In her New Year’s address Merkel pointed to the „magnificent civic engagement we have seen and the comprehensive concept covering the political steps to be taken“. Angela Merkel thanked all voluntary helpers and full-time workers. more

EUROPEAN COUNCIL MEETING IN BRUSSELSEU’s external borders must be better protected

To stem the influx of asylum-seekers, the European Union is to decide on common border and coastal protection measures by summer. The European Council would like to see the United Kingdom remain in the European Union. Speaking in Brussels, the Chancellor stressed the importance of the talks in Vienna in order to find a political solution in Syria. more

Source: The Federal Government

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Robert Williams

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Robert Williams

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