As Germany’s open-door refugee policy comes increasingly under fire, the Chancellor has tried to silence her critics.
Despite mounting pressure to cap the number of refugees in the wake of the Cologne sex attacks which saw 130 women sexually assaulted by men, believed to be migrants, Mrs Merkel has stood her ground.
Some 1.1million migrants entered Germany last year, many fleeing conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
Mrs Merkel said: “We need … to say to people that this is a temporary residential status and we expect that, once there is peace in Syria again, once ISIS has been defeated in Iraq, that you go back to your home country with the knowledge that you have gained.”
Mrs Merkel said 70 per cent of the refugees who fled to Germany from former Yugoslavia in the 1990s had returned.