You might have reckoned the election as some kind of marker. We’ve passed a bend, you thought, it’s time for a new ordering of things. But instead the Merkel government has just done that pointless thing it got used to doing in the last few years in its attempts to fend off the AfD – found a way to make life worse for refugees without making racist voters any happier.
It was bound to happen. The CDU and the CSU got especially good spankings in the election, so, given that they’re not known for innovative thought, Germany’s conservative parties agreed this week to enter coalition negotiations with the FDP and the Greens offering the thing they’ve been going on about for ages now – a cap of 200,000 on the number of asylum seekers let into the country “for humanitarian reasons.”
This will require some kind of legal hoop-jumping, because Germany, like the US, the EU, or in fact anywhere with a constitution, has laws saying that if someone needs humanitarian help, you’re supposed to provide it.
The US solution is to build an expensive and pointless wall, the German solution is more subtle but just as expensive and pointless – all incoming asylum seekers will be put in “Decision and Return Centres”. Not a new idea either – Germany already has a few of these in the Bavarian towns of Manching and Bamberg – but they’re useful because they allow the government to let people in without really letting them in, much in keeping with Merkel policy on refugees for the last couple of years.
The CDU and CSU are also planning to do all kinds of other things to get as many asylum seekers out of the country and the EU as is legally possible – including making deals with “countries of origin or transit” along the lines of the Turkey deal to make it easier to deport people, weaponizing the EU borders, classifying Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia as “safe countries of origin”, and extending the suspension of family reunions for refugees with “subsidiary protection.”
The depressing thing is that it won’t make any real difference – Germany’s right-wing press, like Focus magazine, have already done articles saying that the measures are too easy to bypass, and the AfD press – Compact, Junge Freiheit, all that shit – won’t be appeased either. That’s because Merkel and the CDU are still not doing what the AfD voters really want – actually make a law saying Muslims should live in special camps and do some free work if they want to stay here.
Check out Konrad’s podcast News des Nachrichtens – with Drew Portnoy: