Internal Dissent

Pressure Builds on Merkel Over Refugees

merkel in malta afp
Geman Chancellor Angela Merkel at a conference on E.U.-Africa refugee issues in Malta ahead of an E.U. summit.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    If Angela Merkel capitulates to her party’s right wing on the refugee issue, it could embolden potential challengers such as the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, to bid for control in the next election in 2017.

  • Facts


    • The German chancellor has refused calls to set an upper limit on the amount of refugees coming to Germany.
    • This week, her interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, and her finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, appeared to lobby openly against her refugee policy.
    • On an E.U. level, Germany is isolated on the issue; so far, other countries in the bloc have accepted only 116 of 160,000 refugees that were supposed to be relocated from Greece and Italy.
  • Audio


  • Pdf

Chancellor Angela Merkel can no longer ignore the building pressure and growing skepticism over her political course on refugees. But is Europe’s most powerful leader willing – and able – to quickly and radically change her open-door, “refugees welcome” policy that has fueled an unabated surge in people seeking asylum in Europe, especially Germany?

Ms. Merkel is clearly wavering. Never before in her 10 years in office has she faced so much dissent at home and abroad – and arguably made so many mistakes – as she has with the refugee crisis.

Many agree the chancellor has responded far too late to the historic dimensions of the crisis and they see the country in a state of emergency.

Her mantra about coping with the influx in refugees – “We’ll manage it” – appears shakier than ever.

Now even some of her closest allies are breaking rank and speaking out, as support for her zig-zag political course disintegrates and the popularity of right-wing groups continues to grow.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has emerged as the most senior critic of her policy. He warned on Wednesday that the flow of refugees into Germany and Europe could turn into an “avalanche” if not managed properly.

Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.