Two-thirds of Germans believe the country has become a worse place to live since Angela Merkel opened its borders and triggered the migrant crisis in 2015, with just 17 percent saying the subsequent changes have been for the better.
Some 66 percent of voters believe the country has gone downhill since the mass migration influx according to a new Enmid poll, conducted by Bild on Sunday in the wake of protests over the murders of Germans by refugees and asylum seekers.
Over four-fifths of respondents told the pollster that the social and political climate has become “significantly” more unpleasant since the Chancellor declared Germany open to the over one million who have settled in the country since, with just 11 percent saying they disagreed with the assessment.
“The country has changed somewhat,” said Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, remarking that “tolerance levels are falling and debates are becoming more heated”.
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“People have become increasingly concerned about the migration issue, which is a topic that is splitting and polarising German society,” the Christian Social Union (CSU) minister told Bild am Sonntag.
Christian Lindner, the leader of the country’s right-leaning liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) told the Sunday tabloid that political debate in Germany has become “completely overwrought” in recent years as the left suspects “racism” to be behind every critical word that is said about the migration influx.
Thousands of people turned out on the streets to protest migrant murders after the fatal stabbing of Daniel Hillig in eastern Germany, with the demonstrations attracting international attention and outrage from mainstream media outlets under headlines such as “Neo-Nazis rampage unchecked in Chemnitz, the crystal meth capital of Europe”.
Just over a quarter (27 percent) of respondents to the poll said they would approve of protests against foreigners while two-thirds (66 percent) said they would have no sympathy for such a demonstration.
However when asked how they would feel about protests against acts of violence committed by migrants, almost three-quarters of Germans said they would understand such demonstrations, while only around a fifth of respondents said such displays would be wrong.
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According to the survey, which interviewed 500 people, 50 percent of Germans believe the current level of immigration poses a threat to the country while 35 percent think it is proportionate.
While Germany is set to pass laws which would make it much easier for non-EU labour to settle in the nation — with most political parties in the nation demanding the border be thrown open to enable even greater immigration — a mere four percent of voters believe current immigration levels are too low.