The Economist lead article is full of praise for Angela Merkel‘s decisive, visionary and compassionate approach to immigration.
Source: Merkel the bold | The Economist
Apart from the article, it’s worth reading the many comments received below the article. In particular, I was struck by the German reader who indicated that he was proud of the practical help being offered by ordinary Germans. Another comment referred to American quotas with Mexico and how the system has been abused for decades.
It seems that Germany has already persuaded France to support the German initiative on immigration quotas. Meanwhile, a number of East European countries are pushing back, no doubt reflecting popular political pressure.
Against this background, David Cameron seems rather isolated and the UK is perhaps seen as not doing her part?
Actually, David Cameron has a good point too. There are a number of separate but related problems here. Firstly, there is the humanitarian disaster, which Angela Merkel is addressing compassionately – but this is a crisis-management approach. Crisis management will alleviate some immediate suffering but it will not address the cause of the crisis, nor the social consequences of the opening of the immigration flood gates.
The second problem is the cause. Massive African migration is being fanned by the war-torn zones in the Middle-East. This has created two sorts of immigrant, the political one fleeing in fear and the economic opportunist. Clearly, processes to differentiate between the two types of immigrant in Europe are not working effectively. David Cameron is right to focus on the strategic issues in the Middle East as triggering the migration crisis. From a historic perspective, American and European interventions in both Iraq and Syria seems to have precipitated the crisis. Ultimately, an effective strategic solution must be found for both Iraq and Syria.
The third problem is to recognize the explosive social time-bomb from opening the immigration flood gates. It’s not just the immigrants themselves permitted by quotas, it’s their friends and family and their future generations. Already Germany and Sweden are changed by immigration and multiculturalism.
In my view, the UK and France need to bring some stronger resolve to European foreign policy and work with the US in finding lasting solutions that will slow the massive emigration from Africa. Let’s hope that Angela Merkel is ready to be bold on European foreign policy too.