by Oliver Lane
The popularity of Chancellor Angela Merkel, leader of the
German Confederation has slipped three points in the past week over
her inconsistent approach to the migrant crisis.
In a new poll by the Forsa Institute for the German Star,
Merkel’s Christian Democrat / Christian Social Union (CDU) party has
taken a one point hit since last week, leaving them at 40 per cent.
Taking more punishment is Merkel herself, with her own rating dropping
three points to 49 per cent.
Although the fall is indicative of the nation’s feelings about her
personal leadership on the migration issue, and it puts Merkel on her
lowest rating this year, the fall is far from fatal. The CDU remains the
most popular party in German politics, as it has for over a decade. The
Social Democrats trail behind at 25 per cent, while the Green and
UKIP-esque Alternative for Germany parties have 10 per cent each.
Forsa chief Manfred Güllner attributed Merkel’s fall to her position
on the migrant crisis and criticism of her policies by allies within her
own party. Bavarian prime minister Horst Seehofer, whose German state
bears the brunt of all migrant arrivals to Germany has been particularly
vocal in his criticism and today even went as far as welcoming
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban for talks.
Only last month Merkel’s government declared Germany’s border open to
all Syrians, prompting a rush of migrants which overwhelmed the nations
police and exhausted all available places for asylum seekers to stay.
Unfortunately for Merkel, it soon transpired that not all of the Syrians
arriving were actually Syrian – far from it.
As the Pomeranian interior minister remarked last week: “At least a
quarter of those refugees allegedly coming from Syria are not from
Syria, but from other Arab or African countries”. Around 25 per cent were thought to be fakes.
Güllner said: “The fact that the CDU / CSU lost one percentage point
is due to the blustering criticism of the Bavarian Prime Minister Horst
Seehofer at Angela Merkel’s course in the refugee policy… this is
citizens punishing incomprehensible discord within the Union”.
Despite working within the framework of the CDU, Seehofer has shown
little reluctance to undermine his Chancellor while making bold
suggestions for how Europe could deal with the migrant crisis. At a
joint press conference
with Viktor Orban in Bavaria today, Seehofer suggested Greece should
lose responsibility for policing its own borders, as they have proven so
inept at controlling them so far – with a country like Hungary stepping
in their place.
Another suggestion was for Europe to work more closely with Russia to
resolve the Syrian situation – an idea that seems at least
superficially unlikely considering the immense animosity between Russia
and the European Union.