'Merkel’s open-door refugee policy opens Pandora’s Box'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel © Charles Platiau
The stream of asylum seekers to Europe is unlikely to slow down with the winter coming, but will only speed up as migrants will worry that Balkan countries might change their policy, says Prof. Laszlo Maracz from the University of Amsterdam.

RT: What can you tell us about the unity in the German leadership when it comes to the question of refugees?

Dr. Laszlo Maracz: I think Germany is facing political instability in the government coalition. But I don’t think that at the moment the crisis is severe enough to threaten the position of Chancellor Angela Merkel. But it is quite clear that in the political elite there is a difference of opinion [on] how to engage this migrant crisis.

RT: Do you think there’s enough opposition to challenge the Chancellor’s stance?

LM: Yes, first of all, I don’t think that the coming of the winter will change the stream of migrants to Europe…The weather has been worsening in recent weeks with a lot of rain, but actually we could have seen the acceleration of the stream of refugees and migrants. So, I don’t think it will change. I rather think that it will speed up because probably migrants will be afraid that there will be changes in the policy of the Balkan countries; they are planning to build fences in Croatia, Slovenia and Austria as we heard... So, I think more migrants and refugees will come. Probably, after the next waves of migrants there will be even more pressure on the German government to do something. But at the moment, although Chancellor Merkel has to fight for every inch, I don’t think it will be easy but it doesn’t look like there is enough opposition against her policy of open doors.

Refugees wait on the bridge at the Austrian-German border between Braunau and Simbach at lake Inn near Passau, Germany, October 27, 2015. © Michaela Rehle

RT: Do you believe there is a successful way to resolve the issue on the European level? What prevents Europe from it?

LM: I think we actually see more opposition to the German policy of open doors with respect to the coming of migrants to Europe in the so-called Visegrad countries. I think Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic are working very intensively together in order to maintain the control over this migrant crisis and they are opposing an open door policy with open ends as Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, has formulated it, fairly strongly. Actually, this opposition is now spreading towards Slovenia, tomorrow Hungarian soldiers and police will support the Slovenian border forces to protect the border between Slovenia and Croatia. So, actually we see an expansion of the opposing policy of the Visegrad countries to the Balkans. And I think, it will be very hard for the [German] Chancellor and the European Commission to get all these forces within the same platform representing the same sort of policy towards the migrant crisis.

RT: The refugee topic has been featured in Germany on a political satire program making fun of the refugees’ hardship. How is the crisis impacting society?

LM: I think the refugee crisis must have a severe impact on German society…Two weeks ago there was a protest of 200 [community representatives] from the province of Nordrhein-Westfalen – they could not house any migrants or refugees any more. So, the problems on the basis for German society are enormous. I think the Chancellor opened ‘the box of Pandora’ with her policy of open doors. So, we will see a lot of incidents, basically, we already see extremists unfortunately attacking refugee shelters. And it seems that for some reason it has also become a topic in German satirical programs to attack refugees and to make laugh about them. So, it shows that there is some hopelessness in German society. And the German society does not see where the end of this is. So, we will see a number of very severe incidents in the coming time.


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