With the announcement that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was going to be seeking reelection for a fourth term in office, the liberal factions throughout Europe were celebrating her decision. The decision came in the face of problems for other liberal leaders, whose progressive policies have fallen on hard times.
One issue that Merkel has always been adamant about was the protection of the million or so Muslim immigrants that have been allowed to enter Germany under emergency circumstances due to war issues in Syria and the threats from ISIS. She has even gone so far as to suggest she would grant asylum to many of the people crossing the border over the past year.
In a stunning development, Merkel’s rhetoric has changed significantly, prompted by a noticeable dip in her popularity. Members of her own party have been vocally critical of her support of these so-called immigrants due to their possible ties to radical Muslim factions.
It would appear that honeymoon is over for as many as 100,000 of those people originally allowed into the country. In a recent public statement made by Merkel, she said ”The most important thing in the coming months is repatriation, repatriation and once more, repatriation.” There has apparently also been a shift in her attitude towards asylum for tens of thousands more of the other immigrants.
The reasons for this sudden policy shift would seem to be two-fold. First, she, like other politicians, is acutely aware of who her support base is and what they expect. With the unrest in the country over this very issue, she simply doesn’t want to risk losing any significant support.
Second, she is now able to better understand the effects on the country’s welfare the prior decision has had. The strain on the country’s economic resources and the turmoil it has created among citizens has become evident. The risks now seem to be significantly higher than originally expected.