New Burden on Germany’s Shoulders
Natalia MEDEN | 01.09.2015 | OPINION

New Burden on Germany’s Shoulders

Based on public opinion surveys, the immigrant and refugee flows is the hottest topic on peoples’ minds that eclipse other issues leaving behind even the acute Eurozone crisis. It’s only logical.

According to German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, Germany expects to receive 800,000 asylum applications this year alone. «We will take care of it», he said in his usual military manner (he has served as Defence Minister, his father was one of Bundeswehr’ founders). He never elaborated. According to de Maiziere, it was unfair that Germany had to receive 40% of percent of all refugees that arrive in Europethis year or almost four times country’s last year total.

But the politicians referring to European traditions of humanist thinking say, 800 thousand asylum seekers account to less than one percent of Germany’s population. They seem to forget that it’s not about Christian compassion anymore. It springs to mind that the article with the specific mention of Christian heritage that constitutes the foundations of the modern Europe has been taken out of the Lisbon Treaty.

Instantaneously, German media launched a propaganda campaign calling for friendly attitude towards migrants. Media offer stories about good Samaritans helping refugees. An actress handing out food, an actor giving money to build a refugee asylum, a person offering free Wi-Fi and a volunteer working in an asylum seekers’ reception center… The internet access to most of materials devoted to refugee problems is denied. That is the most surprising thing. These articles are kept out of public discourse. Unlike in other cases, Germans have no opportunity to freely speak out their mind on the issue. Somehow, politics and the government actions are not subject to discussion. A personal opinion on the problem of migrants should not be shared. The attack of migrants against policemen in Suhl has not hit the radar screen. Present-day rules of political correctness banned this story from being highlighted by the media.

Sentimental stories about German kindness and hospitality towards migrants are told describing the events that take place in the «correct» world. The things are different in the parallel (real, «incorrect») world where the people who stage anti-migration protests are accused of subversive actions. On August 23, the protests staged in Heidenau, Lower Saxony, in the eastern part of Germany hit the news. In this case, the protesters got quick response to make them remember they breached law and order – the things so much respected in Germany. Officially the events were described as an action organized by right wing radicals with the help of social networks. Here is the conclusion: the government should allocate more funds for internet spying to watch the activities of Germans. The reaction of German politicians is surprisingly unanimous: what happened in Heidenau is unacceptable; the actions of protest were irresponsible, improper, shameful and outrageous, etc. 

The Minister of Interior and the Minister of Justice made the most memorable statements. They said the police will come down hard on drop-outs unhappy with the people coming in from other countries. Then police presence around the migrant shelter was strengthened and a security barrier around the shelter was erected. Police asked all passers-by to identify themselves. German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen distinguished herself by saying that the military will take an active part in solving the problems related to accommodating asylum seekers. The military urgently set up tent camps for refugees. Native Germans appreciate that: at least temporarily they will avoid the unwanted neighborhood. Thus the military boosts its influence on internal situation in the country. It does it without much public attention. Almost everyone is happy with the fact. Minister Ursula von der Leyen is becoming more popular. She needs just that. The rumors are growing strong she will be among the candidates for the Chancellor‘s position.

As usual, the opposition blames the government. It must be noted that its rebukes are not justified. According to de Maiziere, the country is not going to close the door in front of the refugees. According to Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, the government has managed to scrape up an additional billion euros to support asylum seekers. The primary objective is to help refugees make it through the cold German winter.

The Greens are evidently unhappy with the government’s reluctance to continue receiving a million of refugees annually. They want to liberalize the rules on granting political asylum and adopt a law on immigration that is still non-existent in Germany. There is something important to be mentioned here. In the most of cases it is presumed that refugees come to Germany for a long time, or for good, to be more precise. So, it’s not only about financial support, but learning the language as well. Some architect funded a library for newcomers, somebody started to teach the language, some people invite refugees to their houses to have a cup of coffee. Martin Patzelt, an MP of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has welcomed two asylum seekers into his home. His wife gives them language lessons. It all looks peculiar. Subconsciously some people are convinced that the only thing asylum seekers dream about is to work and earn their living.

According to Volker Bouffier, the Minister-President of the German state of Hesse, back in Albania a teacher will need two-three years to earn as much as in three-five months in Germany. He is not that naïve to forget about the difference in the cost of living. German entrepreneurs clearly see the prospects for making profit as cheap labor comes to the country. The head of EVONIK chemical manufacturer believes that those who have not been granted political asylum should be offered jobs in Germany. I daresay that Ursula von der Leyen would not object to filling the military ranks with courageous guys who have already demonstrated their prowess attacking the border of Macedonia or La Manche Eurotunnel.

No matter what politicians say the number of people disgruntled with the increasing flows of refugees is on the rise. About a month ago it was reported that the support for the idea to reduce the number of asylum seekers had grown by 23 percent since the beginning of the year. The German experts who tried to explain the phenomenon are not totally open and above board. For instance, Juergen Falter, the German political scholar, admits that the discontented are not outcasts or right wing radicals, but rather ordinary citizens who don’t like the fact that many migrants who enter their country may not actually have the rights for a political asylum seeker’s status.

I believe that this is not the real cause of concern for Germans. It’s not about the burden on the budget or, in other words, the burden to be shouldered by taxpayers either. According to the estimates made by German politician Sigmar Gabriel, this year Germany will spend three billion euros on refugees and migrants. Some estimates say, the figure could be higher. But as the events in Heidenau showed, it’s something different that causes anxiety. The German culture and way of life could be gradually deluded as newcomers arrive. Who and why needs the Islamization of Germany? There is no way the German society could dodge this question.

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