“We can do it!” – this famous phrase was uttered by German Chancellor Angela Merkel five years ago against the background of the migration crisis. At that time, tens of thousands of migrants, mostly Syrians, crossed the borders with the European Union. Merkel ordered refugees stranded in Hungary to be allowed into Germany. Between 2016 and 2019, more than one and a half million people applied for refugee status, Euronews reports.
Over time, the Chancellor’s migration policy provoked protest not only in the ranks of the opposition, but also among the Chancellor’s Christian democratic Union party members. The issue of attitudes towards migrants has divided German society. People asked whether Germany should even feel responsible for such a large number of people from other cultures.
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According to Deutsche Welle, consistently about 60 percent of Germans believe that the country is coping well with refugees, 40 percent are convinced of the opposite. According to political scientist Herfried Munkler, 2015 revealed a split line in German society and a desire for radical politics. “The pull towards the political center that we saw earlier has come to an end,” he said.
According to the expert, the most political benefit from the outrage over Merkel’s refugee policy was derived by the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. In many elections, it recorded a significant increase in the number of votes and became the strongest opposition party after the 2017 Federal election.