In 2014 Germany dealt with 200,000 asylum seekers; in 2015, it expects to process 800,000, and today (08.09) the Vice-Chancellor has said that it can absorb 500,000 a year for the next several years.
The EU media has been quick to praise Germany. And German leaders have been quick to praise their people. But all of this is an oversimplification.
From the state's perspective, Germany needs millions of workers. Syrians are highly educated and Western-minded. Absorption of such refugees will benefit the society and economy and ensure Germany's prosperity in the medium to long term, which is not currently assured.
On the side of the people, warm welcomes at train stations are contrasted with protests against refugees in some regions (largely eastern regions) that have been going on over three years. Such protests have been met with counter-protests, some of which I was part. The media failed refugees in the years up to now by not highlighting these issues. And the same media now lauds to openness of the German people. It is disingenuous to refugees and the debate to only highlight the positive news stories.
The reality is that we don't really know where Germany or Germans actually stand on these issues. A good example of this is shown in the video below. In July, Angela Merkel, whilst at a forum for young people, told a girl from Palestine (whose residents are not well educated) that Germany must send some asylum seekers home. It cannot allow the floodgates to be opened because it cannot absorb millions.
Less than two months later, this policy has drastically changed. It is not clear why. It may be altruism, it may be economic self-interest, or it may be geopolitics. Whatever the reason, it is important that the new policy is adhered to so that other countries can be influenced likewise.
Europe cannot risk continued flip-flopping on this issue. Consistency in German policy can guide that.
Later in the week I will write a policy paper on the Dublin Convention, which is at the heart of European refugee policy .