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.
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