With the incessant refugee influx plaguing Europe, Germany has been the most generous and welcoming country to the migrants and refugees fleeing horrid conditions at home. While other EU members are scrambling to deter migration into their country, Germany has accepted 600,000 refugees so far and expect to receive approximately one million asylum seekers by the end of this year. Germany’s chancellor has maintained an unyielding and resolute stance in regards to her open-door policy. Merkel recently bolstered up a German refugee assistance package that aims to disseminate four billion dollars across the country to assist in regulating the overwhelming migration.
Due to her granting of humanitarian aid and allowing migrants settle within Germany’s borders, Merkel is speculated to win this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Handling the crisis with both assertiveness and benevolence, the chancellor is being praised and applauded on the international level. Although admired abroad, she is facing mounting domestic opposition. Her attempts to escalate Germany’s status on the international scale has severed the European Union along religious and racial lines. Public opinion is becoming desensitized toward Merkel’s migrant policies. Merkel’s approval rating dropped 3 percentage points over the past week to 49 percent, according to a survey that was published on Wednesday and conducted by pollsters Forsa for the German weekly Stern and the private TV group RTL. The poll showed support among voters for Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian-based associate party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), falling 1 percentage point over the past week to 40 percent.
German political observers understand that Merkel could not have possibly anticipated all the implications of her policy choices; however, they find it inexcusable that she has no feasible plan for the refugees once they cross the border and stand on German land. Her inability to control the consequences as well as the uncertainty towards her motives, have caused people—both political and public—to voice their disapproval.
For instance, Julia Klöckner, the leader of the CDU in Rheinland-Palatinate, stated that more than three hundred German women have complained about Muslim men’s behavior. Her claim embodies the anti-Muslim sentiment that has been brewing in Europe ever since September 11. Stories about Muslim refugees who exert violence on other Christian asylum seekers and even abuse women and children for being Christian are disseminated by the German Media. This has a potently negative effect on how the predominantly Christian population perceives Muslims. They fear that these foreign newcomers will not adhere to their notions of religious freedom.
Just in this past week, Germany has been shaken by mass brawls taking place in refugee centers across the country. In Hamburg, an incident involving about 200 Syrian and Afghani refugees engaged in a clash that forced 50 police officers to intervene. The scuffle left multiple people injured and a city on edge, reeling with disdain. Similar skirmishes between refugees have recently taken occurred in the German cities of Bonn, Leipzig and Suhl. The negative publicity generated from these event was exacerbated when Hamburg passed a law allowing the seizure of vacant commercial property to be turned into temporary refugee shelters—without the consent of the owners.
Ultimately, this is all a repercussion of Merkel opening her arms to these hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants without taking into consideration Germany’s limited resources. The violence that is erupting is often a result of the poor and overcrowded accommodations they are given. “When about 4,000 people live in a shelter that could normally host only 750 people, overcrowding leads to aggression,” the deputy Head of the German police labor union, Jörg Radek, told German Die Welt. German cities simply do not have the housing capabilities to ensure these refugees are properly accommodated for. Germany cannot continue to bear the brunt alone. Other countries need to put aside their xenophobic and nationalistic sentiments and take responsibility for a portion of these asylum seekers.