Global Independent Analytics

Angela Merkel stands firm amid Germany refugee crisis

Despite German people's dissatisfaction, "Queen of Europe" holds her ground on refugee issue

'The Washington Times’ Mihret Yohannes and Angela Waters report: Angela Merkel’s imperturbability remains the same as the rough year which has already brought more than a million of refugees due to her open-door policy, comes to an end.

“Ms. Merkel, 61, has tamped down — at least for now — the outrage and a flight of support from her Christian Democratic Union, or CDU, among conservative voters who fear that the approximately 1 million refugees arriving in Europe’s largest economy this year might include terrorists like those who staged mass shootings in Paris last month,” claim Waters and Yohannes.

However, the despised policy might affect her position in the upcoming state elections: the vital government supporters will very likely use every chance to make their discontent public, eroding support for Germany’s leading conservative parties.

Apparently, Merkel should anticipate a busy winter while accommodating newcomers and convincing citizens of the need to extend sympathy while accepting desperate refugees. Despite all the critics, German chancellor did not lose her respect and appreciation among people worldwide: she was granted title of Person of the Year in 2015 by Time magazine and Forbes put her on the second place in its Most Powerful People list, right between Obama and Putin.

“She is also not backing down from a fight as the Continent struggles to deal with the crush of migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and other crisis spots. Many in Europe say her welcoming attitude has only worsened the problem,” assume Yohannes and Waters. Merkel, however, bears an attitude of assurance, calling the worst refugee crisis in Europe since WWII a “historic test” and added that it is one of the basic identity principles of the country – to deal with such crises. Her staunch position surprisingly has helped her to effortlessly win support among most concerned and exasperated CDU party members. Experts assume that it is Merkel’s exclusive combination of improvisation and principle that allows her to take over power in Germany.

According to Tony Czuczka, co-author of “Angela Merkel: a Chancellorship Forged in Crisis”, her strategy is to regain voter support by attempting to take the situation under control; and, apparently, the strategy is effective enough. For example, apart from her soaring rhetoric, she clearly claimed that indeed tougher immigrant policy should be adopted in order to ensure that refugees follow German laws while assuring that the inflow of immigrants reduces.

Waters and Yohannes suppose: “Humboldt University political scientist Herfried Munkler said the balancing act was a hallmark of Ms. Merkel’s tenure. She has repeatedly overcome dilemmas that would have sunk other politicians by embracing policies that often diverge from one another and besting rivals who consistently underestimate her. “The secret to Merkel’s weathering crises is her flexibility,” said Mr. Munkler. “It is clever in many respects and has led to a long chancellorship, but in principle it excludes long-term strategic plans.”

However, her support might be harmed particularly by her religious background which makes it possible for her, as a Lutheran, present the current refugee crisis as a chance, not as a burden to the nation.

“Polls show that support for the CDU and its Bavarian ally, the Christian Social Union, stands at 38 percent, 3 points higher than the lows posted after she announced that Germany would accept unlimited refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war and other crises in the Middle East. But as part of the balancing act, the government also announced this week that it was stepping up the deportations of failed asylum-seekers, The Associated Press reported. Newly released figures show that the number of deportations almost doubled this year from 2014, according to the AP report. Still, the CDU’s popularity has been falling in the past year, with a far-right, anti-immigrant, Euro-skeptic party, the Alternative for Germany, or AfD, benefiting the most from the CDU’s slump in the polls,” say WT’s reporters. Even more worries are brought by a new anti-Muslim movement which is known for its wild demonstrations in many cities of eastern areas of Germany.

Analysts report that the political fate of Merkel depends on how she will deal with the New Right, which is rather likely though not very obvious.

Yohannes and Waters provide a quote of a 28-year-old Berliner, who declined to share party affiliation: “I have mixed feelings about her. She didn’t think through the refugee situation, and now we have all of these people here that she can’t help.” She added, that Merkel’s policy of welcoming refugees who are unlikely to assimilate into the society, was a catastrophe for Germany.

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