Germany says yes to refugees
‘Yes to refugees!’ – these words can briefly convey the main message of a recent speech by German Chancellor Angela Merkel on ARD public television. The hopes and expectations of the majority of German society, unsatisfied with the policy of Merkel on the issue of the refugee crisis, therefore, have not been justified. The head of the German government has remained unyielding in her position on receiving further people fleeing the war in the Middle East. The Chancellor categorically rejects the idea of imposing a legislative limit on refugees, not to mention closing of the German-Austrian border to migrants. On the one hand, the position of Merkel is worthy of respect, appealing to the principles of humanism, she has not followed the path of least resistance, and has taken unpopular decisions, sacrificing her political rating. "If we begin to apologize for the fact that we have been friendly in a difficult situation, that is not my country," she said.
On the other hand, critics of Merkel accuse her of ignoring the views of the voters, most of whom clearly disagree with the migration policy of the Chancellor, as is evidenced by numerous sociological surveys. The situation within the ruling faction is already tense to the limit. On the morning of October 14th in the administration of the Chancellor a meeting with several influential members of the CDU/CSU was held – obviously, Merkel wanted to enlist the support of their course before the meeting of the faction. According to a source close to the Conservative publication Die Welt, the meeting was not successful. The publication quotes one of the participants: "We agree only that we do not agree with each other."
The meeting for Merkel, according to information leaked to the press, went worse than ever. Several deputies went into open confrontation with the head of the government. "You do not seriously think that we will be able to send back the refugees at the border," Merkel appealed to the assembled deputies that demanded the closure of the German-Austrian border. In response, several members of parliament at the same time said, "Yes, we think so," triggering applause from others.
During the meeting, Merkel put forward the argument that if Germany does not accept the refugees, it will cause a chain reaction in all EU countries, leading ultimately to a concentration of traffic in the Balkans, and will undermine the fragile regional stability existing there. The deputies Clemens Binninger and Armin Schuster, who previously worked in the police, citing their experience, disagreed with the position of Merkel. The example of Poland was given, which is actively fighting illegal immigration at the border. There is no sense in introducing the same border control, but not conferring the police with the right to send people back, as is happening now in Germany, the deputies think.
According to some reports voiced in the German press, about 20% of the deputies of the CDU/CSU are no longer controlled by Merkel on the issue of refugees. Meanwhile, some members of the factional meeting, on condition of anonymity, said that the real percentage of ‘rebels’ in the ranks of the faction is much higher. Under these circumstances, Angela Merkel urgently needs a foreign policy success in the negotiations with Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan during her scheduled visit to Ankara on Sunday. According to the German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Turkey is a ‘key country’ for the EU on the issue of the refugee crisis. The head of German diplomacy relies on the production of a joint migration strategy with Turkey. This step would significantly reduce the migration load on the EU and, in particular, on Germany. Taking into account the accumulated baggage of mistrust between the governments of Merkel and Erdogan’s Turkey (Erdogan has not forgotten the hostility of the German political elite), and the highly unstable domestic political situation in Turkey, the negotiations promise to be difficult. It is hardly likely that one of the parties can afford to speak from a position of ‘strength’: as far Merkel is in the refugee crisis and Erdogan cannot cope with terror in his country, they are now in rather delicate domestic political situations.