The year is 2018. Angela Merkel is still in power. But, we know she’ll soon abdicate her post. It’s known to all.
In another 2 years of time and she’ll be on her way out. Picture Germany in 2020. For the first time in maybe 16 years, Germany will be Merkel-less.
She’s made the decision. The sharp business suits are still a wonderful sight. And these are perhaps just as wonderful as the pearl necklaces that hover around the stoutly built power-figure that one may not exactly be charismatic but is revered.
It’s hard to imagine German political set-up in the absence of Angela Merkel- the corrector of many wrongs, a reflection of Germany’s economic might even if not its corrector of current woes; not the biggest admirer of Vladimir Putin or of those who cannot imagine the sight of refugees in her country.
The changing vagaries of time. A few fundamental things have changed during the course of Merkel’s tenure- haven’t they?
The famous forehead now has freckles. There also are nerves. Has exhaustion announced itself, finally? 3 years back in time, there was a strange rumour. It reverberated everywhere whether in the corridor of the Reichstag, the French Parliament or the Royal Opera House in Vienna, next door to Germany.
There was a feeling that the German Chancellor was going to get a Nobel Prize for peace, probably just like former US President Obama. It was 2015 then, the year where Germany accepted millions of refugees, who’d fled their parched, destroyed, burned out homelands in the Middle East.
A part of the world was in some form of stability. Another was in ruins.
Someone had to extend a hand. Someone had to take a leap of faith.
This is when Europe suddenly plunged into a mega debate. Not since the Second World War had the world witnessed such mass exodus of people. It could be said, this was the key political-meets-social- discourse of the 21st century. The question of refugees mattered. What to do with them, whether to accept them or not and if yes, then in what capacity or number?
While most countries waited for answers, often staring each other blankly German chancellor Angela Merkel came up with a pathfinder of sorts. Since 2013, the first where one heard about the massive displacement of those in the Middle East, there have been more than 1.8 million requests for asylum seekers.
Today, one doesn’t know where the Nobel Peace Prize is or whether what became of it? Did it even bore a sign of reality or was it some extravagant result of fictitious imagination.
Regardless, here’s some truth. When oblivion dissipates, reality strikes.
In Germany- a country that’s been at the epicentre of accepting millions and millions of refugees, today not only Albanians regard it as their ‘home’, but so do ‘Syrians’ and even, ‘Romanians.’
Meanwhile, Germany’s right-wing centric neighbour, Austria seems to have issued a clear ‘no to any more immigrants’ policy. Those that have gone Austria’s way include nations like Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia.
What was indeed a remarkable and wonderful gesture of humanity and chivalry- should we call it- on the part of Germany extending a hand of support to those who needed it the most also obviously had economic and cultural aftermaths and repercussions.
Here’s a fact, according to BILD.
From the onset of 2014, the arrivals in Germany increased by around 46 per cent. While welcoming those with no piece of land to call home into a home- temporary that it may be- was a warm gesture, there began a struggle with orientation and absorption of the asylum seekers, refugees into Germany, as any country would have it.
Which were the states that received the most number of refugees, one may have wondered?
North Rhine-Westphalia, followed by Baden-Wurttemberg, and Bavaria led the party. But soon, there emerged a real concern. Not all asylum-seekers were absolutely clean or had crime-free records.
In fact, the concern, in recent times has grown to the extent that Interior Minister has had to offer an explanation sourced from the website- MyNDNow.com
Horst Seehofer, told weekly Der Spiegel that Syrian asylum-seekers convicted of crimes aren’t currently being deported to their home country, as demanded by some German politicians.
All of the above is amid a much larger context that continues to generate the wrath and concern of many whilst perhaps not being sufficiently attended to if at all, it’s considered as a ‘concern.’
What is the state of the German economy?
For the first time now since 2015 has the German economy began shrinking. It’s not exactly the economic maverick, the financially-charged behemoth it once was.
Europe, on a whole, has been suffering from economic plights of some form or the other.
While unemployment halved for the first time since Merkel took over in 2005, there are serious concerns in front of her.
Much of what Merkel succeeded in during her term, it is believed, was because of major labour reforms brought in by Gerhard Schroder.
Here’s what stings worse than a scorpion’s attack:
Earlier, in 2017, World Post recorded some observations about Germany; issues that are yet to be fixed.