The German Chancellor has emerged as the firm favourite for the 2015 peace prize, the winner of which will be announced by the Norwegian Nobel Committee next Friday. But even as she is lauded on the international stage, Merkel is facing growing opposition to her refugee policy at home, where her personal approval rating with voters has plummeted nine percentage points in a single month, according to the findings of a new opinion poll.
Well, not “lauded” everywhere on the “international stage”, but I interrupt.
Nominations for the peace prize are kept secret, and the days leading up to the announcement are traditionally filled with speculation and guesses. All the Nobel Committee will confirm is that there have been 276 nominations this year. But Kristian Berg Harpviken, an expert who publishes a shortlist of likely winners each year, named Merkel as favourite.
The chaotic and careless approach taken to immigration by Angela Merkel, a sad sack apparatchik who deserves no honor, will have consequences that endure for decades, very few of them likely to contribute to ‘peace’. Tensions have risen sharply in southeast Europe (as the countries there argue over how to manage the migrant surge), and the bullying of East European countries by Berlin, Paris and Brussels will have given a boost to Putin’s ambitions in the region. As for what it means for Germany, well, apparently Germans need to just suck it up.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany has to get used to the mass influx of refugees as she confronted increasing pressure from within her own party to limit the number of newcomers the country accepts.
Will have to get used to.
Authoritarians are what they are.
Not content with throwing open Germany’s borders, Merkel criticizes those who would do something to secure theirs:
“I don’t think fences help, that’s useless. We saw that in Hungary,” Merkel said, referring to the Hungarian government’s decision to build a razor-wire fence along its border with Serbia to repel migrants. “The refugees come anyway and look for other ways. We won’t solve the problem with fences.”
Well, Bundeskanzlerin, the Hungarians might at least ease theirs….
Even in the Nordic region, concerns are mounting.
Copenhagen (AFP) – Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Saturday said she feared for Europe’s borderless Schengen zone and urged countries to shore up their external frontiers in the face of the migrant crisis.
“We must now make sure that the outer borders work,” she added as Europe struggles to cope with its worst refugee crisis since World War II.
Schengen, which permits citizens of 26 states including non-EU member Norway to travel without passport formalities, is creaking under the strain of an unending flood of new arrivals with Germany, Austria and Slovakia reimposing border checks.
Solberg, whose Conservative Party is in a ruling coalition with the anti-immigration Progress Party, echoed concerns over Schengen expressed by French President Francois Hollande on Thursday. Speaking to AFP, Hollande said Schengen was “in danger” due to the absence of registration centres to distinguish between refugees and economic migrants as EU states seek to share out some 120,000 asylum seekers, most fleeing the war in Syria. Hollande said if there were no controls at the EU’s external borders, states would feel obliged to restore national borders and controls “and it will be the end of Schengen.”
Well, every cloud has a silver lining. The sooner that Schengen, with the even more reckless euro, one of the EU’s two signature ‘achievements’ in recent decades, is scrapped the better, but I am not holding my breath. The EU project only ever moves forward…
Meanwhile the much-vilified Hungarians are, however much Merkel may sneer, taking their frontiers seriously. This YouTube clip prepared by the Hungarian military celebrating the steps being taken to fortify the border may be on the bombastic side, but the unapologetic message it sends to Berlin and to Brussels is to be commended.
The fact that ‘unsound’ countries such as Hungary, not to speak of increasingly alarmed voters in Germany (and elsewhere), are pushing back against Merkel is, of course, all the more reason to suspect that the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, always so keen to display its imagined moral superiority over the rest of us, may give the prize to the German chancellor, a woman better rewarded with contempt.
Reuters (my emphasis added):
German authorities expect up to 1.5 million asylum seekers to arrive in Germany this year, the Bild daily said in a report to be published on Monday, up from a previous estimate of 800,000 to 1 million. Germany’s top-selling newspaper cited an internal forecast from authorities that it said had been classed as confidential. Many of the hundreds of thousands of people pouring into Europe to escape conflicts and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and beyond have said they are heading to Germany, Europe’s largest economy. Bild said the German authorities were concerned about the risk of a “breakdown of provisions” and that they were already struggling to procure enough living containers and sanitary facilities for the new arrivals.
“Migratory pressures will increase further. We now expect seven to ten thousand illegal border crossings every day in the fourth quarter,” Bild cited the report as saying.
“This high number of asylum seekers runs the risk of becoming an extreme burden for the states and municipalities,” the report said. The authorities’ report also cited concerns that those who are granted asylum will bring their families over to Germany too, Bild said.
Given family structures in the Middle East, this would mean each individual from that region who is granted asylum bringing an average of four to eight family members over to Germany in due course, Bild quoted the report as saying…
“Four to eight” times “up to 1.5 million”, hmmm…
Bild is never knowingly under-dramatic, but if this report (and what follows from it) to turn out to be true, ‘peace’ may turn out to be a bit of a struggle.