Domestic, international criticism follows open-arms policy
Bertrand Benoit in Berlin and Nicholas Winning in London report: Praise for Germany’s handling of the thousands of refugees pouring into the country is giving way to domestic and international criticism of Berlin’s open-arms policy.
“A welcoming culture is an expression of naive and illusory thinking. What we need, instead, is realism and a sense of proportion. We shouldn’t go beyond providing the basics for asylum seekers, like food and shelter, because it will attract more people.”
— A spokesman for Alfa, a recently founded opposition party in Germany
The criticism, though still muted, could spell trouble for German Chancellor Angela Merkel once the outpouring of sympathy that has greeted the migrants since late last week subsides and Berlin resumes its push to distribute them more broadly across Europe.
The chancellor’s decision on Friday night to let thousands of migrants traveling through Hungary into the country “sends a completely wrong signal in Europe,” Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann told public television Saturday. “This must be corrected.”
“Germany has a heavy responsibility for inciting at the level of the European Union a passive acceptance of this crisis. Germany is probably thinking about its declining demography. It is probably looking to lower salaries again and recruit slaves through mass immigration.”
— National Front leader Marine Le Pen
Leaders of the Christian Social Union, Bavaria’s ruling party and an ally of Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democrats, unanimously criticized the decision as wrongheaded during a telephone conference on Saturday, Andreas Scheuer, the party’s secretary-general said.
Anti-immigration politicians in Germany, France and the U.K. also assailed the policy, saying that it was pulling even more refugees toward the continent and that German plans to divert some to other countries in Europe should be resisted. By Sunday afternoon, some 13,000 migrants had crossed from Hungary into Austria in the 36 hours since German and Austrian authorities bowed to pressure to grant entry to the crowds of asylum seekers stranded in Hungary. Read the rest of this entry »