"We in Germany are rapidly approaching the limits of our possibilities," Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, of the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), told SPIEGEL ONLINE in an interview last Friday. "Although the (country's) asylum law doesn't have an upper ceiling, there are real limits to how much pressure we can put on our cities and towns."According to a new poll, fully four-fifths of Germans want the nation to reinstate border controls and three quarters believe refugees should stay in the first safe country they reach [Poll: Four-fifths of Germans want return of border controls, by Oliver Lane, Breitbart, October 6, 2015] And Merkel is also facing rebellion from within her own "center-right" governing coalition.
Concerns are growing that Germany is already there. Tensions among residents of often overcrowded refugee hostels, for example, have boiled over into violence in some facilities. Furthermore, officials from police officers to border control agents and government functionaries are desperately searching for ways to bring the number of refugees under control.
The debate is having a negative impact on Merkel's public image. A poll by Infratest Dimap for German public broadcaster ARD last Friday showed that the percentage of Germans who are "scared" about the number of refugees entering the country has increased from 38 percent in September to 51 percent today. The same poll also showed Merkel's approval rating had dropped by nine points to 54 percent, her lowest in nearly four years.
[Merkel's Grip on Refugee Crisis May Be Slipping, Der Spiegel, October 6, 2015]
What is Merkel's response? Anna Sauerbrey of the New York Times swoons:
That's a strange definition of conservatism or pragmatism. "Well, we created a problem for no reason. Oh well." But such is what passes for the conventional wisdom among the Great and the Good in what may prove the twilight years of the West.
In an emergency meeting with her party’s caucus at the Bundestag, several of her fellow conservatives bucked at the idea of accommodating more refugees. How could conservatives accept the burden of more people? Ms. Merkel shut them down, reportedly saying, “Well, now they are here.”
This might be the end of irony. But it is certainly not the end of pragmatism. It could turn out that once again, she is just what we need.
[The End of Angela Merkel's Irony, October 13, 2015]