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Merkel Urges European Realism On Refugees

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (file photo)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on March 29 presented a peace prize to Jordan's King Abdullah II and called for a European sense of perspective in its handling of refugees.

Speaking in Assisi, Italy, Merkel highlighted Jordan's major role during the refugee crisis, taking in not only Palestinian refugees but more than 670,000 Syrians over the past several years.

"If we compare that to the size of Germany, this would mean accepting about 5.7 million people, and in Italy for example more than 4 million people," Merkel said.

Germany took in more than 1 million refugees at the height of the crisis in 2015-2016. "We Europeans would do well to keep such dimensions in front of our eyes," Merkel said.

Merkel was presenting to Abdullah the Franciscan "Lamp of Peace" award, a Catholic prize presented annually in the Italian city of Assisi.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was also in attendance for the ceremony.

Merkel, who received much domestic criticism but also international praise for her own role in the refugee crisis, was given the award in 2018.

Other past winners of the Lamp of Peace include the Dalai Lama and Poland's Lech Walesa, as well as Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis.

Based on reporting by dpa