Merkel: Sport could help refugees integrate into German society

Published March 6th, 2016 - 02:57 GMT
Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel

Refugees could better integrate into German society by playing team sports like football and handball, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday in her weekly podcast.

"Wherever trainers are ready, wherever instructors are ready, to give also those people who have come to us as refugees an opportunity, it should be exploited," she said.

"Precisely team sports distinguish themselves by the fact that you have to stick together," the chancellor said. "Perhaps you don't really have a full command of the language yet, but you know the shared rules."

The teams work towards a common goal, she added, which builds strength and self-confidence, prerequisites for fitting into a new society.

The arrival of more than 1 million migrants in Germany last year, many of them fleeing war in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, has triggered debate about whether the nation can integrate so many newcomers.

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