The stream of refugees to Germany is flowing – – 2 years after the death of richie havens.
The Lonely Chancellor: Merkel Under Fire as Refugee Crisis Worsens.
Until recently, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was considered to be the most powerful politician in Europe. But now, her approach to the refugee crisis has her under fire at home and in Brussels. Can she survive ?
It was like a trip back in time — back to Germany´s recent past, when the country was happier and untroubled. But then Christine Bruchmann, a local business leader, abruptly steered the discussion back to the issue that has dominated Germany in recent weeks. Bruchmann wanted to know if Merkel was concerned that the huge numbers of refugees currently arriving in the country could disrupt societal balance.
She knows, Merkel said, that there still isn´t European agreement on how to share the refugee burden; that there is still no deal with Turkey on slowing the inflow of migrants into Europe; and that along the Balkan Route, used by hundreds of thousands of Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis in recent weeks in their quest to seek asylum in Germany and other northern European countries, there is a lack of “order” and “control.” In particular, Merkel said, she is concerned about that “which makes Germany so strong,” namely “the societal center.” She is constantly asking herself, Merkel related, “if we are losing the center.”
One of Merkel´s great strengths is an unerring sense for political reality. As such, her comments at the town meeting early last week show that nobody knows better than Germany´s chancellor just how precarious the situation in the country has become. The influx of refugees continues unabated and Merkel´s public approval ratings continue to fall in lockstep with sinking support for her center-right Christian Democrats (CDU). Meanwhile, her quarrel with Horst Seehofer, head of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the CDU´s Bavarian sister party, has reached a new and dangerous level. Seehofer has issued so many ultimatums to the chancellor that he will eventually be forced to make good on one of his threats — which could throw Merkel´s suddenly wobbly governing coalition completely off kilter.
Merkel´s historic decision to open Germany´s borders to refugees stuck in Hungary was morally unassailable. But politically, it has put her on the defensive. Now, in order to tighten up Europe´s external borders, she is dependent on the help of erstwhile opponents such as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
Indeed, it is slowly becoming apparent that Merkel´s influence in the EU is waning just as her support evaporates back home in Germany. To be sure, the chancellor´s stock has risen in recent weeks among Green Party supporters and left-wing Social Democrats. But her own core of center-right voters is fearful that the “refugees welcome” movement could give rise to a parallel society of Muslims in the country.
A Shot in the Arm for the Populists
The situation is not dissimilar to the fate of her predecessor Gerhard Schröder. In the early 2000s, the Social Democratic chancellor pushed through welfare cuts and reduced unemployment benefits that severely alienated many in his party. The result was a reanimated Left Party, the far-left political movement that partially grew out of the former East German communist party.
CDU members say that Merkel´s only option for freeing herself from the trap in which she currently finds herself is that of rapidly reducing the number of immigrants arriving in Germany. But it doesn´t currently look as though that is a realistic possibility. Some 500,000 refugees have entered the country since the beginning of September, and there is no end in sight. “Prepare for the eventuality that in the coming weeks, 10,000 to 12,000 refugees will arrive at the border each day,” a member of the Coordinating Committee inside of Germany´s Interior Ministry said last Wednesday, quoting from a communiqué from the Austrian Interior Ministry.
The mood isn´t just becoming critical at the border. In late October, 215 mayors in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia wrote a letter to Chancellor Merkel and to the state´s governor, Hannelore Kraft, saying that their ability to cope with the situation had been exhausted. Almost all available shelters were full to overflowing, they wrote, and even providing people shelter in tents or containers was hardly possible anymore. Furthermore, the municipalities are so busy with managing the inflow of refugees “that we are unable, or only partially able, to fulfill our other municipal responsibilities,” they wrote in the letter. At almost exactly the same time, five municipal politicians from another region in the state sent an additional letter of protest to Governor Kraft´s office.
Angela Merkel | Richie Havens | refugees germany and Balkan Route