Chancellor Angela Merkel rejects refugee limit for Germany in TV interview

Presenting a ten-point-plan for a modern Germany and a better Europe, Schulz said he would introduce an investment obligation for the state to boost public spending on infrastructure and education.

Merkel said Germany had to increase investment in high-speed internet broadband connections. She says the greatest challenge to allocating more funds to new projects lies in removing bureaucratic barriers, specifically in the planning process.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel refused to place an upper limit on refugees that the country accepts, speaking in an annual interview broadcast on Sunday. “I don’t see the main problem as the question of whether there should be more money – you can and you must do that – but rather in accelerating planning”.

Merkel underlined her determination to run for a full four-year term in the September 24 election.

“It’s also a question of justice among generations not to leave behind a dilapidated country, but rather to invest so that they have the same conditions as we do”, Schulz told a crowd hours earlier at SPD headquarters in Berlin.

The German leader made a similar argument three days ago in Paris after holding a joint cabinet meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, who had joined criticism of Germany’s current-account surplus.

“We now can not spend the money that we have”, Merkel argued, pointing to planning and capacity bottlenecks in the construction industry as well as at the level of regional authorities.

In the wide ranging interview, Merkel said she hoped to work with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to resolve a widening gulf between Turkey and Germany.

Merkel will likely be reelected in September elections opinion polls show.

The exchange comes 10 weeks before the federal election in which Merkel seeks a fourth term and follows a repeated call on Berlin by the International Monetary Fund to increase investment as a way to boost imports, support the recovery in other countries and reduce its record trade surplus.

Schulz, a former European Parliament president, said EU countries outside the single currency bloc should not be able to veto further eurozone integration and that those ignoring solidarity on important issues must face financial sanctions.

Schulz, whose SPD pulled almost even with Merkel’s faction in surveys after his surprise nomination in January, has struggled to regain that initial momentum.