As German Chancellor Angela Merkel enters into what could be her last year in office, she is repeatedly realizing her open border policy for all asylum-seekers is doing an enormous amount of damage to the country and its political system. While she has admitted her mistakes, Merkel has still held a relatively pre-refugee stance, but during a European Union (EU) summit this weekend, she’s made a small u-turn by announcing plans to send many of the refugees home.
“[We need to] stop illegal immigration”
EU leaders met in Vienna on Saturday to discuss issues surrounding the Balkan route, which served as a popular path for refugees traveling between eastern to western Europe until Austria made a push for countries along the route to put stricter border protections in place in order to curb illegal immigration.
Merkel, who has yet to make a major effort to deal with illegal refugees, told leaders at the summit that it is time to put plans into motion that would see them sent back to where they came from, and move forward with a plan that would “stop illegal immigration while living up to our humanitarian responsibilities.”
While sending the illegal asylum-seekers back to where they came from sounds straightforward, European countries, including Germany, have dealt with resistance from the countries of origin. Merkel told the leaders that to achieve the plan, “it is necessary to get agreements with third countries, especially in Africa but also Pakistan and Afghanistan… so that it becomes clear that those with no right to stay in Europe can go back to their home countries.”
The amount of illegal refugees in Germany is not a small number, but even if the plan moves forward successfully, the number remaining still poses many concerns that threaten the political careers of Merkel and the politicians associated with her CDU party. With the loss of support in her party, following embarrassing defeats in recent regional elections, many are hoping that she knows to call it quits.