Angela Merkel urges people to say no to populism in defensive New Year’s message

DC NEWSBy Geoffrey Ingersoll, DCNF

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Islamist terrorism will be the biggest challenge Germany faces during 2017 as she delivered her New Year’s address Friday in Berlin.

Merkel faces a career-defining year when she goes up for a fourth term in 2017. The election in the fall will be the first one since she opened the door to more than one million refugees.

Merkel used her speech to condemn the terror attacks that have taken place in Germany during the year, especially the ones carried out by refugees.

“It is particularly bitter and sickening when terror attacks are committed by people who claim to seek protection in our country,” she said. “As we go about our lives and our work, we are saying to the terrorists: ‘You are hate-filled murderers, but you do not determine how we live and want to live. We are free, considerate and open’.”

Merkel further asked Germans to say no to populism during a time when many feel the world has been turned “upside down.”

“Many attach to 2016 the feeling that the world had turned upside down or that what for long had been held as an achievement is now being questioned. The European Union for example,” Merkel said. “Or equally parliamentary democracy, which allegedly is not caring for the interests of the citizens but is only serving the interests of a few. What a distortion,” Merkel said in reference to claims by populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD).

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