Michael Moore’s soon to be released movie Where to Invade Next, explores some of the positive aspects of Germany’s policies. I’d been reading about it. Then Ralf Loos, my dear friend since high school days, came to visit with his charming sweetheart Heike. They started telling me what life has been like in Germany over the last six months. Shocked, I asked him to join me on the show. He did splendidly talking live on camera, for the very first time in his life, and that in a foreign language! I asked him if he could write the blog post with me to give more context.
Although neither articulated it, they were traumatized by events at home. A couple of weeks re-visiting friends and familiar places in Hawai’i was clearly beneficial. An exhausted Heike was in tears one evening after Ralf and I had been talking about it too long. That’s when I got an inkling of what it is to have one’s home invaded in the service of greater humanity. And how a crisis of order and violence will foment a reactionary backlash.
Merkel’s Open Border Policy
With the introduction of the EURO in January 2002, people in the EURO member states were promised that participating countries would become more prosperous, and the monetary union would create jobs for member states.
Instead, the majority of EURO member states now have unprecedented unemployment rates, and most economies are stagnant, if not in decline. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, Europe’s monetary union suffered tremendously. European banks played roulette every bit as enthusiastically as American banks and investors. In Europe it was dubbed the EURO-crisis.
All leaders/politicians of EURO member states have failed to bring order or even improve the situation, despite promises. There are certainly a multitude of reasons for this predicament. One primary reason is that all treaties designed to guarantee the stability of the common currency were blatantly disregarded. The result of not obeying the rules of the game is obvious: chaos.
It seems Europe is eager for more chaos, not only in the financial arena, but socially as well. An excellent way to achieve chaos is to ignore international agreements on immigration. The European Union sanctioned the Schengen Agreement, which stipulates that all immigrants and asylum seekers need to be registered in the initial country of entry. In reality, migrants who arrived via Greece or Italy were NOT registered, and quickly channeled to other European countries. German chancellor Merkel’s unilateral decision to allow migrants into Germany without registration, significantly increased traffic.
Migrants into Germany in 2015 increased from an expected 400,000 to 1,000,000 – more than twice as many as anticipated. Chancellor Merkel’s unilateral decision took everyone by surprise. She put herself above the law and the Schengen Agreement. German police, the German Red Cross, and many other relief organizations– none were prepared. If there hadn’t been an extraordinary number of volunteers to assist in helping the migrants, the chaos would have escalated.
The repercussions of Merkel’s open-border policy are multifaceted on both domestic and international levels. Federal, state and local authorities are stretched beyond limits, paralyzed by this unfathomable influx. The current situation is most “un-German” as disorder and chaos reign – the German government estimates (!) that there are now 200,000 undocumented migrants.
Inequities have become an issue since German citizens have to pay their monthly dues for health insurance, but migrants receive free health care. Schools, gymnasiums and other buildings are requisitioned to house migrants, disrupting and degrading education. Students are forced to change schools as campuses are transformed into housing for migrants.
Of additional concern amongst European and German citizens is the right to family reunification allowing the subsequent immigration of additional family members. This law stipulates that approved asylum seekers have the right to have their family members immigrate to their new home country. It is realistic to assume that each asylum seeker will be followed by family members, also needing to be feed, housed, educated and cared for. The number of Germans discontent with this situation is growing the popularity of right wing political parties. Other countries dealing with this mass influx of migrants are experiencing similar developments.
The Schengen Agreement has been suspended by many member states. Meaning, these countries have reestablished pre-Schengen border controls. All attempts to solve the migration crisis on a European level have failed. Member states have refused to accept quotas, which would allow distributing the migrants equitably between member states.
The parallels between the EURO crisis and the migrant crisis are striking. So are the tunes that European politicians sing: “We must find a European solution!” This tune is still sung, but has lost all credibility.
The overall situation is dire and the cause of frustration for everyone involved. Member states have started (forced) deportation of migrants. For most migrants, life in refugee camps and improvised housing is frustrating. Few know whether they will be allowed to stay in Germany, or be deported in the months or years ahead. They live in limbo, and in many cases their high expectations will remain unfulfilled. Left unaddressed, this frustration easily turns into violence and hate.
Footnote: Which term should be used to describe the newcomers is debatable, migrant or immigrant. Both terms are accurate.
- Some are coming from the Middle East and Africa for economic reasons, wanting to move to a more affluent country, like Germany or Sweden.
- Some are migrants who want to come to Europe temporarily.
- Lastly there are asylum seekers, those who flee war zones in their home countries. It is unclear whether they want to stay in Europe only until the situation in their home countries have improved, or not.