When the inaccurately named Syrian refugee crisis began seriously kicking into gear in August and September, Germany was leading the way in saying that Europe needed to open their doors to the suffering migrants and take them in with open hearts. Once the word got around that the welcome mat was out in Germany, people began arriving in the tens and hundreds of thousands. As any jaded observer might have predicted at the time, this led to a lot more people showing up than simply the actual victims fleeing ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Germany has been seen as a place of great opportunity compared to the rest of Europe for years now, largely due to Angela Merkel’s sensible, conservative fiscal policies and advocacy for a strong German state. This has led to some high approval ratings for her and an enhanced standing in the international community. But problems are arising from her policies which included saying as recently as September 10th that there should be no legal limit to the number of refugees allowed in.
Now this flood of frequently unwelcome interlopers taking advantage of generous German social policies seems to be taking a toll on Merkel. The natives aren’t quite to the point of tossing her out on her ear, but her numbers are slipping. (Yahoo News)
A new poll is adding to indications that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal popularity is taking a knock amid the influx of migrants to Germany, though there’s no sign of serious political damage.
The Infratest Dimap poll of 1,001 people for ARD television, conducted by telephone Tuesday and Wednesday, found 54 percent of respondents satisfied with Merkel, nine points fewer than a month earlier. Satisfaction with Bavarian governor Horst Seehofer, the most prominent critic of her welcoming stance toward refugees, was up 11 points to 39 percent.
The poll published Thursday night also showed 51 percent of respondents saying they’re worried so many refugees are coming, a 13-point rise.
To be fair, a 54% approval rating is still one which most American politicians would give their eye teeth for, so Merkel isn’t heading out to pasture just yet. But if she’s smart she will be paying attention to the fact that this nearly full open door policy has a majority of her constituents feeling uneasy. Is she getting that message? Her most recent statements seem to lean that way. For one thing, she’s back to talking about the need for Europe to be able to maintain their own borders. (Sydney Morning Herald)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Europe must protect its external frontiers as it faces the greatest influx off refugees since World War II in a crisis that she says is “testing Europe’s mettle”…
“And for Europe, this means we of course need to, above all, protect our external borders across Europe – and protect them together – so that immigration to Europe is orderly,” she said.
“But it also means we must take on more responsibility for countries where the causes for people to flee are, or where there are a lot of refugees, such as in Lebanon, Jordan or Turkey,” Merkel added.
That wasn’t her only adjustment to policy. Just this week she signaled that Germany would need to start aggressively expelling so called “economic migrants” from the Balkans and other neighboring nations. They’ve been sneaking in along with the much smaller number of actual war refugees and are rapidly draining Germany’s resources.
The difference between Merkel and Obama, at least for one example, is that she seems to be able to sense when the tide is shifting and is willing to adjust her strategy to keep Germany in a sustainable position. Being a widely admired world leader is nice, particularly when people are talking about giving you a Nobel prize for actually doing something, but she also seems to recognize that it can’t come at the cost of sinking her own nation.
The German people see trouble coming. They can’t afford to take on that many folks as charity cases and there is a growing worry that terrorists may be sliding in through the open door along with those legitimately fleeing violence. The Germans also seem to be standing up for a joint sense of national pride and identity, all of which can be threatened by too many unwelcome new neighbors who may not be contributing much to the general welfare. Angela Merkel will probably survive this storm if her recent actions are any indication of her long term plan. Now we just need to wait and see if Barack Obama can take a hint from her example before we start drowning in the same flood.