Headline Sep 03, 2015 / THE PAINS : ''' THE ASYLUM ISSUE '''



AND THEN, just last Thursday, an abandoned truck with  ''71 Dead Migrants''  was found on a highway in Austria, just as Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Vienna for a conference on the western Balkans.

She had been jeered as a  ''traitor''  by locals in Heidanau, the day before for showing solidarity with refugees there and appeared visibly shaken in Vienna as she spoke to reporters about the gruesome new discovery.

All of a sudden it seems, the depth of the refugee crisis is beginning to register in Germany. Merkel is no stranger to crises. Her ten years in power have been dominated-

By the global financial meltdown, turmoil in the euro zone and the conflict with Russia over Ukraine. But those crisis were distant for most Germans. Now she must wrestle with a problem that is having a profound effect on communities across Germany.

''During the Euro crisis people had the impression that it was other countries that had a problem and Germany was in good shape. Now the burden was very much at home,'' German weekly  Die Zeit  wrote this week.

''For the first time since Merkel came to power, Germany could begin to look like a problem country.''

Merkel remains highly popular after a decade that has coincided with Germany's re-emergence as an economic power and influential power in the affairs of the world. During the Ukraine and euro zone crises, Europe has looked to her to lead and she has her own cautious step-by-step way.

But the refugee crisis is a challenge of an entirely different dimension and complexity. It is a local, national and European problem. And it will likely require the kind of proactive rally-the-people leadership that Merkel has not always been comfortable with in the past.

Just recently, German Chancellor Angela Merkel  - raised many eyebrows by describing Europe's refugee problem as a bigger challenge than the Greece crisis-

Which had overshadowed all else in the first half of 2015. No one in Germany is questioning her assessment any longer. In the past few weeks, the country has been shaken by-

A perfect storm of headlines that have elevated the  refugee issue, long seen in Germany as primarily a southern European problem, to the very top of the public and political agenda.

''Very quickly now you could have a situation like we had in the early 1990s where shelters full of refugees are being attacked,'' said one senior official in Berlin who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

''Something like this can quickly get out of hand of the politicians.''  

For much of the post-war period, German politicians referred to immigrants as  ''Gastarbeiter'' , or guest workers, as if they would return to their home countries once the work was done.

That illusion persisted until quite recently, when the realisation began to set in that Germany desperately needed immigrants to cope with looming demographic crisis caused by its low birth rate.

Still, the main focus was on bringing in skilled labour to fill the needs of the German ''Mittlestand'', or small business community.

Many of the Syrians, Kosovars, Eritreans and Iraqis that are coming to Germany now do not fit that bill. 

The biggest challenge of all for Merkel may be to lead Europe towards a common asylum policy. German politicians express exasperation these days at the refusal of some EU partners to accept their  ''fair share''  of refugees.

Unless this is resolved soon, they fear, then the openness of ordinary Germans could vanish quickly. The optimists in Berlin point to the euro zone and Ukraine crisis as examples of where Europe has defied the odds and remained united.

It will fall primarily to  Merkel to deliver the same consensus on refugees. ''The asylum issue could be the real big project where we show whether we're capable of working together,'' Merkel said in mid August.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of Europe. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' The Pains Peace Process '''

Good Night and God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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