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Refugee crisis burdens Germany

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

10-29-2015 18:14 BJT

By Zhao Minghao, research fellow at the Charhar Institute in Beijing and adjunct fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to China aims to deepen Sino-German relations. During the first half of 2015, German machinery manufacturing industry exports to China fell 4.9%. Huge trade agreements signed between Beijing and London a few days ago has added pressure to Berlin. Meanwhile, the refugee crisis is distracting Merkel's government along with its political resources.

Refugee crisis

Refugee crisis

The influx of refugees to Germany may reach 1.5 million by the end of the year, exceeding an estimated 800,000. They are coming through eastern and southern European boundaries, with Germany as their final destination.

There are two groups of refugees,those who are running away from wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and arriving in Germany through Turkey and western Balkan countries, while the others are economic refugees from Africa, coming to Italy and Greece for better lives.

This year, 2,200 people have already died at sea, but more Africans are heading to wealthy European countries such as Germany via the Sahara Desert.

At the beginning of September, Berlin had raised the yearly receiving number of refugees from 400,000 to 800,000. A selfie of German Chancellor Angela Merkel with a refugee was widely-spread on the Internet.

Germany's Federal Office of Immigrants and Refugees announced on twitter that Syrian refugees in other European countries can apply for asylum here. Hence, refugees have felt welcomed in the nation.

After the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, countries such as Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon have accepted over 3 million refugees, but many seek asylum in Germany, since they do not know when the Syrian civil war will end.

The impact of refugee problems in Germany is prominent. Over 500 refugee centers have been attacked, more than twice the total from last year. Refugees have triggered riots involving tens of thousands of people in Dresden and other eastern German cities.

PEGIDA ("Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West" ) and other right-wing parties stand opposed to them.

Some Germans even support duplicating a Nazi concentration camp. The Interior Minister, the Minister of Justice and other high officials have written articles, urging citizens to ignore those organizations.

Although Berlin is ready to provide 6 billion Euros to deal with the refugee crisis, and the Federal Parliament is speeding up legislation on integrating refugees into the labor market, it is still a major challenge.

The German Federal Government is allocating refugees to its states, but even comparatively wealthier states, such as Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia feel burdened.

Although Merkel’s government claims the refugee crisis remains at manageable levels, concerns of ordinary Germans are on the rise. They fear their pensions and social welfare will be decreasing to fund refugees.  They worry about terrorists infiltrating Europe.

Other European countries are reluctant to help. Poland and the Czech Republic have shunned refugees in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis. The Hungary government has closed its borders with Serbia and Croatia. Germany hopes the EU would impose higher refugee quotas on its member states, but other EU members do not support that.

Merkel said the refugee crisis is one of the biggest historic tests for Europe, which also threatens Merkel's governing status. Many members of the Deutschlands Christlich-Demokratische Union (CDU), the Christlich-Soziale Union in Bayern e.V. (CSU), political allies, have opposed Merkel’s refugee policies.

The refugee crisis, along with the continuing euro crisis, Ukrainian crisis and Syrian crisis are confronting Germany with a serious dilemma. Accordingly, Merkel’s visit to China may bring her some much needed good news at last.


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.


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