German Transport Minister “closure of the border would see Europe fail” says is true in reverse
Refugee Crisis in Germany: The German transport minister stated recently that Germany can no longer show its ‘friendly face’ to refugees. Mr. Alexander Dobrindt pleaded with Chancellor Angela Merkel to close the country’s borders unless other European nations start accepting similar numbers with Germany.
During an interview with München Merkur newspaper, Mr. Dobrindt voiced his concern over Merkel’s ‘open door’ policy. “I would advise us all to prepare a plan B; We must prepare ourselves for not being able to avoid border closures”.
Denying criticism that border closures would be damaging to Europe, the minister stated that Berlin should act alone if a Europe-wide deal could not be reached. “The sentence, the closure of the border would see Europe fail, is true in reverse. Not closing the border, just going on, would bring Europe to its knees.” If the refugee numbers don’t begin to fall, then Germany should go ahead with its own policies.
Refugee Crisis in Germany
Dobrindt is a member of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU). As Bavaria is the main entry point for refugees seeking asylum in Germany, tensions have been rising among Merkel and several of its cabinet members. Most recently, the district’s minister Peter Dreier sent 31 Syrian refugees to Berlin as a protest against the lack of accommodation and resources available to asylum seekers in the town of Landshut.
Dobrindt’s concerns followed an announcement from Bavarian CSU leader Horst Seehofer, who has promised to send a request to the federal government demanding that ‘orderly conditions’ be restored at the German borders.
The statements made by Mr. Dobrindt and Mr. Seehofer were criticized by the German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. A member of the Social Democratic party, Mr Steinmeier supported the chancellor’s position and stated that “the solution…does not lie in closing borders.”
Merkel’s decision to let refugees enter Germany freely has dominated headlines for several months. In 2015 the country welcomed more than a million asylum seekers, and there are no indications that the influx will slow down.
Responding to criticism of her open door policy in regard of the refugee crisis, Mrs. Merkel said that she will work to reduce the number of refugees entering Germany, but later claimed that enforcing an upper limit would lead to border closures.
The German chancellor is also encouraging Turkey to restrict the refugees’ movement to their borders while also asking for other European countries to increase their intake of asylum seekers.
Germany’s iron lady also agreed with the EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, calling for refugee reception centers, the so called hotspots, to be built on European borders.
Merkel’s CDU party also wants North Africa to be declared a ‘safe zone’. If they succeed, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia will be classified as safe countries, a move that will dramatically reduce the number of North African nationals being granted asylum.
The decision would allow Germany to provide advanced help and resources to people fleeing war zones such as Syria. 40% of the asylum seekers who have arrived in Germany last year, are Syrian nationals.
The declaration of a North African safe zone would mean that Moroccan, Algerian and Tunisian nationals would no longer be housed in shelters across Germany.
Whether that would help solving the refugee crisis only time will tell.