German chancellor Angela Merkel has promised to step up the fight against Islamic State (IS) declaring that the jihadists must be fought with "military means". So far Germany has only provided Kurdish rebels with arms and training to fight the extremists.
But in the past few days Merkel has declared it was deploying 650 troops to Mali, designed to provide relief to the 1,500 French soldiers already stationed in the African nation. But after a meeting with French president François Hollande she agreed that Germany could do more in the fight against IS.
Germany has felt the brunt of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing from the violence in the Middle East. Merkel has come under criticism from political allies in the past for her accommodative stance on refugees from the Middle East.
In the wake of the Paris terror attacks and unrest in the Belgian capital of Brussels, Germany is at heightened risk of attacks by the fundamentalist Islamist group known as 'Daesh'. France and Hollande have encouraged the Germans to join the fight even invoking a clause requiring EU member states to provide military assistance following the terrorist attacks.
Merkel said that it was Germany's duty to "act quickly", whilst on a visit to Paris. She said: "We are stronger than any terrorism. Nevertheless, terrorism must be fought with all possible force. IS "can't be convinced with words, it must be fought with military means," she added.
EU nations have all agreed to provide direct or indirect support to French operations in Syria or other regions where French forces are operating. And on Thursday, Hollande will travel to Moscow to discuss joint anti-terrorism efforts with Russian President Vladimir Putin
Merkel and Hollande also discussed border controls, as two of the suicide bombers at the Stade de France had travelled into Europe through Greece. Germany expects a record 800,000 migrants at its borders for the whole of 2015 – four times the number of asylum applications received in 2014. The country absorbs around 40% of all asylum-seekers arriving in the EU – more than any other member state in the 28-nation bloc.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has argued that European countries could not accept so many refugees. Whilst Merkel has expressed the need to develop the passport-free Schengen rules and insisted on the necessity to distribute refugees across the EU based on quotas.