Germany ‘Sleepwalking Into Another Migrant Crisis,’ Warns Leading EU Politician

People are reflected on the windshield of a bus as they wait to be transported to Germany from the temporary shelter for refugees located in a former shopping center between the Ukrainian border and the Polish city of Przemysl, Poland, on March 8, 2022. - More than two million people …
LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP via Getty Images

The President of the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament has warned that Germany is “sleepwalking” into another migrant crisis as more waves of Ukrainian refugees are expected to flee the country during the winter.

Amid dropping temperatures and Russia’s continued assaults on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, Germany is facing the prospect of hundreds of thousands more refugees seeking shelter within its borders.

Commenting on the growing crisis, the head of the largest party in the EU Parliament, Manfred Weber, said he does not believe that his home country of Germany is prepared for another large influx of Ukrainians, saying that the government is “sleepwalking into a new migration crisis”.

“In view of the ongoing destruction of energy infrastructure in Ukraine by Putin’s terrorist regime, we must prepare for a large number of Ukrainians to come to the EU this winter — and many of them also to Germany, I’m afraid we’ll experience a dramatic escape winter,” the EPP president said.

Weber said that Germany should look to clamp down on the Mediterranean route through Italy to prevent economic migrants from the wider world clogging up the system further, saying that anyone who does not have a visa, passport, or reasonable claim for asylum should be sent back immediately.

In addition to Ukrainians, there has also been an increase in the number of Afghans travelling to Europe following U.S. President Joe Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from the country last summer.

Even before the expected second wave of Ukrainians, Germany has taken in around a million such refugees since the start of the full-scale invasion of the country by Russia in February. The level of Ukrainian refugees that came so far this year is on par with the peak of the European migrant crisis in 2015, when then-Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to open Germany’s gates saw around a million migrants from Syria and elsewhere flood the country.

The head of the EPP is not alone in predicting a further surge of Ukrainians this year. CDU councillor Frederik Paul wrote earlier this month: “I expect tens, if not hundreds of thousands more Ukrainian women and children… already more migrants are living in many communities than in the year of the 2015-16 refugee crisis.”

A district councillor from Thuringia, Martina Schweinsburg, noted that many of the same places that were hard hit during the 2015 crisis are being overwhelmed again, saying: “Our capacities are exhausted. Our backs are against the wall.”

The mood of the country has already been changing, with a recent survey finding that 53 per cent of the public were concerned with the number of migrants coming to Germany, compared to just 11 per cent in September of last year.

Germany has already been dramatically changed since the previous migrant crisis, with the country seeing its migrant population increase by 4.4 million between the end of 2014 and June 2022.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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