Published: Sat, March 17, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Plenković Congratulates Angela Merkel for Reelection as German Chancellor

Plenković Congratulates Angela Merkel for Reelection as German Chancellor

The backlash sparked by her policy helped fuel the country's far right in last year's election - the AfD entered the federal parliament for the first time - and led to the worst electoral performance in nearly 70 years for her CDU party.

She added that the Islam practiced by Muslims in Germany would have to conform to the country's constitution.

Macron warned in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily that, without Germany on board, "part of my project would be doomed to failure".

The government estimates between 4.4 and 4.7 million Muslims are living in Germany. "Germany is shaped by Christianity", he said. Many of them are second or third-generations of Turkish families who migrated to Germany in the 1960s, and are said to be well integrated in the country. Many of them have a Turkish background and numerous more than a million migrants who have arrived in the country from the Middle East and elsewhere after Merkel adopted an open-door policy in mid-2015 are also Muslims.

She will now begin a historic fourth term as Chancellor.

The issue, however, has divided Germany for more than a decade.

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer's words contradict those of former German president Christian Wulff who fuelled a debate over immigration in 2010 by saying Islam was part of Germany.

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In her comments to reporters Friday, Merkel said she supported the practice of Islam in Germany "on the basis of the constitution" and pledged her new government would continue a formal dialogue with the Muslim community started by Schaeuble in 2006.

"But taking into consideration our values and legal system, Islam is also part of Germany".

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and German Finance Minister and Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz attend a joint news conference following their meeting in Paris, France March 16, 2018.

Seehofer is keen to show his party is tackling immigration ahead of Bavaria's October regional election, when the AfD is expected to enter that state assembly.

Seehofer said his message to Muslims was: "Live with us, not parallel to or against us".

After the minister's pronouncement, Merkel moved quickly to assert that Islam "belongs to Germany", a claim the Chancellor has made on several occasions since she opened Europe's doors to seemingly limitless mass migration in 2015.

During his interview with the Bild, Seehofer rejected the criticism that the new German Cabinet doesn't include any people of color, or those with an immigrant background.

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