Angela Merkel has called for a burqa ban wherever “legally possible” and says the full Islamic veil is “not appropriate” in Germany.
The German chancellor made the comments at a Christian Democratic Union (CDU) conference having recently declared she will seek re-election.
She received a large round of applause for calling for the outlawing of the burqa at the conference in Essen, Bild reported.
Merkel also stressed her determination to ensure that there’s no repeat of last year’s huge migrant influx as she seeks a new two-year term in charge of her conservative party.
Germany saw about 890,000 asylum-seekers arrive last year, many after Merkel decided in September 2015 to let in migrants who were stuck in Hungary.
Numbers have since declined sharply, but Merkel’s approach to the migrant crisis has provoked discord within her Christian Democratic Union, which has seen a string of poor state election results this year.
“A situation like the one in the late summer of 2015 cannot, should not and must not be repeated,” Merkel told party delegates. “That was and is our, and my, declared political aim,” she said.
While Merkel has continued to insist that Germany will take in people in genuine need of protection, her government has moved to toughen asylum rules and declare several countries “safe” meaning people from there can’t expect to get refuge in Germany.
Merkel was a driving force behind an agreement between the European Union and Turkey earlier this year to stem the flow of migrants.