German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s frequently understated demeanor is often mistaken for apathy. In no facet of her governance is this perception more misplaced than in her asylum policy.
With her open-door approach to Europe’s unprecedented refugee crisis under fire from a growing chorus of skeptics across the German political spectrum, Ms. Merkel finds herself more isolated than ever. She appears to be weakened, Germany’s silent, wounded chancellor.
Behind the scenes, she is quietly setting the course for a major policy reversal – although Ms. Merkel would never call it that. Officially, her motto remains: “We can do it!” But she is planning to do things differently.
Rather than making a public show of admitting she was wrong, as some of her critics would no doubt prefer, the chancellor’s new strategy consists of small, but effective measures to limit the tide of refugees into Germany, which hit 1.1 million last year alone.
Ms. Merkel is likely to take stock of her open-door policy following a European Council meeting in Brussels in mid-February. Should the influx of refugees into Germany remain unabated, expect a series of aggressive new steps in the following weeks and months.