In her New Year’s address, Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Germans to work together to strengthen the country’s cohesion. It also called for European unity.
Europe’s unity is the key to overcoming the crisis in Ukraine and asserting the strength of the law, Merkel said, according to a speech transcript distributed in advance. He said there was no question "that we want security in Europe together with Russia, not against Russia.". But equally, there is absolutely no question "that Europe cannot and will not accept an alleged right of a stronger that disregards international law," the chancellor said, referring to the unresolved conflict in eastern Ukraine.
In response, Europe has decided not to let itself be divided, but to act more than ever as one to defend its peace order and its values, the head of government stressed.
In her address, the chancellor also warned of the danger posed by the militia "Islamic State" (IS). It said that in the year that is ending, the terrorist group has "persecuted and murdered in a bestial way all those who do not submit to its will to rule". IS also threatens "our values at home," Merkel stressed.
The chancellor also expressed concern about the Islamophobic "Pegida" movement. She criticized the demonstrators for using the slogan of the GDR civil movement "We are the people". Unlike in 1989, "Pegida" supporters said, "You don’t belong – because of your skin color or your religion."
The chancellor appealed to participants in the "Pegida" demonstrations: "Do not follow those who call for it! For too often there is prejudice, there is coldness, even hatred in their hearts!" The rallies are directed primarily against Muslims and immigrants. Merkel ared refugees of help: "It goes without saying that we will help them and take in people who seek refuge with us."
In addition, the chancellor recalled the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. The disease has afflicted people in the region "to an unprecedented extent". She therefore thanked all doctors, nurses, helpers of the German Red Cross and soldiers who had made a contribution "to contain this disease, which is far from being defeated".