German chancellor Angela Merkel’s initial “open door policy” on letting an unlimited amount of refugees come to the country helped earn her a nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize and the distinction of being Time’s Person of the Year.
But it looks like it could potentially mark the beginning of the end of her time as Chancellor.
An Insa poll for Focus magazine on Friday revealed that 40% of 2,047 Germans want Merkel to resign due to her refugee policy, which saw the country take in 1.1 million asylum seekers last year. The poll, which was conducted from January 22 to January 25, also showed 45.2% believed Merkel’s refugee policy was not a reason for her to resign.
It’s pretty close in terms of who thinks she should resign or not.
This follows closely after data, cited by Citi Research’s chief global political analyst Tina Fordham this month, that showed that Merkel’s approval ratings plunged sharply to 49% in November 2015, down from 67% in August.
Her political position follows the mass New Year’s Eve sexual assaults and other attacks on women in the city of Cologne, Germany that were attributed to gangs of mostly migrant men. These attacks further inflamed the debate in the country over her policy toward the refugees.
The world first got a glimpse of Merkel realising she possibly made the wrong decision on her open door policy decision when she u-turned back in December 2015 by saying she is going to “drastically decrease” the number of refugees entering Germany.
The change of heart is a big deal because originally Merkel pledged to not put quotas on the number of refugees entering Germany since the EU is currently experiencing the worst refugee crisis since World War II.
But it turns out the real reason for this is pretty simple.
This chart, which was embedded in Goldman Sachs’ massive Fortnightly Thoughts report this week, holds to key as why Merkel has had to signal a compromise over her open-door policy with her critics from within her own conservative party.
Now, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Austria and France are among the nations to have re-introduced at least partial border controls amid safety and organising concerns caused by the huge number of asylum seekers arriving into Europe.
Last week, the European Union’s top migration official Dimitris Avramopoulos told lawmakers that efforts to manage the refugee crisis were failing and that the ongoing deadlock threatened unity in Europe.
But the refugee crisis isn’t just a test for Germany because as Business Insider illustrated yesterday with a short slidedeck from Barclays — immigration is the number one concern among the EU population.
You can see the full slideshow here but this slide is just a taster of how important it is for European officials to tackle the refugee crisis in a way that doesn’t threaten to untopple those in power:
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