Chancellor Angela Merkel is meeting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan today in Istanbul to discuss the E.U.’s refugee deal, which has raised tensions on both sides of the Bosporus. Europe does not like Erdoğan’s exploitation of Syrian refugees to secure visa-free travel for his citizens. Erdoğan doesn’t like Europe lecturing him on his penchant for jailing journalists and opposition politicians.
A Forsa poll published today shows nearly 60% of Germans oppose the refugee deal, but Merkel is unlikely to change course. The government swears there is no “Plan B” for Germany but actually there is next year – it’s called the ballot box.
Not without a touch of irony, the World Humanitarian Summit also begins today in Istanbul. The 90 government leaders taking part will likely promise more money to help 125 million people worldwide who depend on humanitarian aid, including 60 million refugees. But this will do little to solve the conflicts that displace them in the first place. If there were a nation for those displaced by conflict, it would be the 12th largest in the world.
If there were a nation torn apart despite an utter absence of conflict, it would be Austria, where a consensus government imposed by Allies has ruled from the center since 1945.
But post-war avoidance of extremes could give way when the final ballots are counted today for the presidential election, in which neither major political party is represented. Whether the Greens or the right-wing populist Freedom Party win, one thing is for sure: Austria has entered the era of polarization.
Things are not looking good for new Bayer CEO Werner Baumann. His bid to purchase U.S. seed producer Monsanto has not gone down well with investors. Hugh Grant, who during his 13 years as CEO of Monsanto has increased the share price eleven-fold, does not think much of Bayer’s power play. The board in Leverkusen is still undecided. Baumann must now show that he can not only make plans behind closed doors, but also fight on the open stage.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière today will present crime statistics for 2015 in what will no doubt be a joyless occasion. Burglaries rose at a double-digit rate last year, injecting further uncertainty among a public already concerned about declines in law and order.
After failing to order the chaotic refugee influx last year, the pressure is on de Maizière, a member of Merkel’s Christian Democrats, to deliver both diagnosis and treatment ahead of federal elections next year.