The Davos liberals at The Economist are urging brave (or was it bold? Or both? Flattery can never have too many adjectives) Angela Merkel to stay her ruinous course, something she is, of course, doing in part by forcing other EU countries to take migrants whether they want them or not (some bailouts are more equal than others, it seems). While the article for the most part skillfully blends sanctimony with spin and Panglossian delusion, it is true that many Germans initially greeted Merkel’s decision to ‘open’ the borders (a spasm of pathological altruism will do that). Nevertheless its author is honest enough to concede that moment has largely passed.
All is not well in Merkelland: A new Bild poll shows that the CDU/CSU duo (the right half of Germany’s governing ‘grand coalition’) is enjoying its lowest approval rating since 2013 (38%). 48% of Germans think that Merkel is handling the migration crisis poorly.
That gives the CSU (the more conservative of the two) good reason to be unhappy with the destructive path that Merkel is steering, and, increasingly, it is. The CSU’s leader (and Bavarian premier) Horst Seehofer (I posted a bit about him here and here) is threatening court action against Merkel (whose actions are, ironically, a pretty clear breach of the EU’s Dublin asylum rules), but this is more than a matter of playing a political game. The ideological breach with Merkel is real.
Seehofer described the different approaches from Munich and Berlin not only as dissent, but as an expression of two “schools of thought, which face each other…One view is that this is a great migration of modern times that you need to accept and manage. The other – my school of thought – is that immigration must be controlled. I want to control and limit them,” he explained. “This is the only way for integration to succeed and to guarantee security in our country.”
Seehofer also warned of a political crisis between the CDU and CSU, adding that for him, an ending of the Union was “not an option …… But I can not give up my stance to keep the peace,” Seehofer insisted.
According to one different (informal) poll amongst 340,000 readers of the (populist) Bild, support for Seehofer’s approach (rather than Merkel’s) was running at 90 percent: Very, very far from definitive, of course, but interesting.
That said, this is unlikely to bother Merkel, an authoritarian with little concern for popular consent unless she feels that her own political position is threatened. As yet, sadly, it’s not.
Her Social Democrat deputy chancellor meanwhile is, I suspect, trying to create a little more distance between him and the chancellor by throwing further doubt on the numbers that can be expected to arrive.
More than a million refugees will come to Germany this year, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s deputy said on Sunday, as a poll showed almost half of Germans believe she is handling the influx of asylum seekers badly. German authorities are struggling to cope with the roughly 10,000 asylum seekers arriving every day. The German government still officially expects 800,000 asylum applications in 2015, while media say up to 1.5 million people could come. “Germany will receive more than a million refugees this year,” Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel told a Social Democratic (SPD) party event in Mainz.
Meanwhile, we should not forget the contempt that the brave and bold Merkel has shown for the sovereignty of Germany’s smaller East European neighbors, something that not only shows remarkable historical tone-deafness, but will also represent something, I would guess, of a gift to Vladimir Putin, a man always interested in seeing opportunities in that region.
In any event CapX’s Andrea Hossó is unimpressed by the way that Eastern Europe is being treated. I don’t agree with everything she says, but this, well, yes:
…Even more misplaced is the vehement international denunciation of Central Europe on account of its attempt to manage the migrant crisis.
Hungary has again been distinguished by special treatment. In an outpouring of shrill criticism reverberating all over the world, the country is being called everything and anything from xenophobic to fascist. The frenzy bears an uncanny resemblance to the wave of international hysteria in early 2012 when media organs and public figures were outdoing one another vilifying Hungary and openly advocating “regime change”, of course, in the name of defending “democracy”.
Hungary is now being vilified for trying to apply EU rules by registering migrants as best she can. There are endless reports about police teargas, none about migrants provoking it by throwing stones at the Hungarian police. And of course, there is considerably less coverage of French police using teargas against migrants in Calais. In Hungary, no migrant hostels have been attacked or set on fire, as happens frequently in Germany. European values? Surely a fair and objective media should be part of the story?
I’m afraid not, Andrea. In the EU it is the ‘narrative’ that counts.
And this (my emphasis added):
For decades, Western Europe has been encouraging immigration based on economic and political arguments. A bigger pool of labour helps keep wages low boosting competitiveness as it is defined by mainstream economics. Politically, a diverse mix of peoples instead of homogeneous populations helps loosen the texture of the nation state deemed outdated and contrary to the goal of …[an] EU managed by one supranational and unaccountable bureaucracy.
It is time to realize that these [Eastern European] countries, much poorer then Western Europe, simply do not have the financial conditions to cope with an influx of this magnitude, and do not wish to be forced to become multicultural societies…. Having more money confers neither infallibility nor the prerogative [on Western Europeans] to dictate to countries whether they should stay largely homogenous or become artificially multi-ethnic.
It seems that those who only recently regained their sovereignty are far less complacent about its erosion than their counterparts to the West.