Merkel thanks Germans for helping 1 million refugees

German Chancellor Angela Merkel poses after recording her New Year's speech at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015. (Hannibal Hanschke/Pool Photo via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel in her annual New Year’s speech expressed gratitude to her fellow compatriots for their overwhelming support for the 1 million refugees who came to this country in 2015.

Merkel says in her speech which will be aired on public Television at 1700GMT Thursday: “Thank you for the overwhelming and really moving wave of spontaneous helpfulness that we experienced this year, when so many people came via often life-threatening ways to us looking for refuge.”

The chancellor said that if tackled the right way, the integration of the many new arrivals would be opportunity for the country in the future. She warned that society should not become divided over the issue and made clear there’s no room for those expressing hatred toward the newcomers.

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