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75 percent of Germans support Merkel’s European approach to refugee crisis

Most Germans support an EU solution for dealing with asylum seekers who arrive on the continent. At the same time they back a proposal to turn people back at the German border, a survey showed on Thursday.

75 percent of Germans support Merkel's European approach to refugee crisis
Refugees in Mainz. Photo: DPA

According to a survey released by ARD on Thursday, three quarters of Germans support Angela Merkel's approach of finding a European solution to the asylum dispute which is threatening to collapse her government.

The survey also showed that the majority of those asked were in favour of rejecting at Germany's borders any refugee who had already been registered in another EU country.

Only 22 percent of those questioned during the Deutschlandtrend survey would like Germany to take a national approach. This opinion is shared by all sections of society and all party supporters (with the exception of AfD supporters, 60 percent of whom were against a European compromise).

Those surveyed were pessimistic about the way in which this dispute would be settled, with only 36 percent of respondents believing that a European solution to the refugee crisis would be found in the near future. A majority of 59 percent were sceptical that this could be achieved.

The same survey asked participants whether they were for or against refugees (who were already registered in another EU country) being rejected at the German borders. 62 percent were for this, with 31 percent saying such people should be allowed into the country.

At one end of the spectrum, 96 percent of AfD voters supported rejecting already-registered refugees at Germany's borders. But 68 percent of Green Party voters were against this on the other end of the spectrum.

Support for both coalition partners – the Christian Union (CDU/CSU) and Social Democrats (SPD) – has increased by one point since the middle of June, according to the “Sonntagsfrage” (Sunday survey).

If a general election happened on Sunday, the CDU/CSU would win 32 percent, and the SPD would win 19 percent of the votes. Support for the AfD has dropped a point to 14 percent, whilst support for the Greens is stable at 13 percent.

Die Linke has sunk one point to 9 percent and support for the Free Democrats (FDP) remains at eight percent.

SEE ALSO: Almost half of Germans want Merkel to resign, poll shows

Member comments

  1. I would be interested in finding out what the German population would think if under a European solution all flagged vessels picking up refugees would constitute the country of origin for those refugees picked up by that vessel. An example would be if a German flagged NGO ship picks up 200 refugees then those 200 are considered Germany’s responsibility rather than the closest port of debarkation. This would reduce the burden on nations bordering the Mediterranean, and place the responsibility squarely on those ships conducting sea operations involving the rescue of refugees in any area of the Mediterranean. If it is an EU solution then the solution should not primarily rest on southern EU member countries.

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POLITICS

Civil servants ‘getting burnout’ over energy crisis, says German minister

Public sector workers trying to tackle Germany's ongoing energy crisis are suffering from illness and burnout, Economics Minister Robert Habeck has said.

Civil servants 'getting burnout' over energy crisis, says German minister

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has unleashed economic turmoil in Europe, placing Germany’s new coalition government under pressure to firefight multiple crises.

Perhaps the largest of these is the energy crisis, which has prompted fears of gas shortages in the winter months and seen prices for fossil fuels soar for both households and businesses.

According to Economics and Climate Minister Robert Habeck, the staff at his ministry – who are charged with tackling the energy crisis – are struggling to cope with the extraordinary pressure that they have been under in recent months. 

“People, at some point they have to sleep and eat too,” the Green politician said at a congress of the Federation of German Industries (BDI) in Berlin. “It’s not bullshit I’m talking now: people get sick. They have burnout, they get tinnitus. They can’t take it anymore.”

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In the last nine months alone, the Economics Ministry has produced 20 laws and 28 ordinances, Habeck revealed. He said this was likely more than the ministry produced over the entirety of the previous four-year legislature. 

Highlighting the strain that his staff were under, Habeck explained that it was always the same people in charge in drafting new laws in the battle to secure the energy supply.

To say that the Tourism Ministry could help restructure the electricity market would be like “telling the artist who made the sculptures that he can be the president of the Federation of German Industries,” the Green politician added. 

Batting off criticism that the ministry had occasionally been slow to act, Habeck said: “Of course you could say, ‘why didn’t you do the regulation a week earlier’. But it’s not because people are sleeping, it’s because there is a limit to their physical capacity.”

Gas levy criticism 

Germany has had to cope with an ever intensifying energy emergency over the past few months, culminating in Russia reducing supplies and then turning off gas deliveries via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline entirely in September. 

Most recently, the government took steps to nationalise its largest gas supplier – Uniper – in a move to prevent the collapse of the country’s energy infrastructure. Uniper has suffered losses of billions of euros this year due to the costs involved in replacing cheap Russian gas supplies at short notice. 

Habeck, who has appeared increasingly world-weary and exhausted in recent months, has faced sharp criticism for a number of decisions made during the crisis. 

Most controversially, his decision to implement a gas levy to bail out major energy companies has been met with consternation from both the opposition and the Greens’ coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD). 

On Friday, SPD leader Lars Klingbeil reiterated concerns about the fairness of the gas levy at a time when many are struggling to pay their energy bills.

SPD leader Lars Klingbeil

SPD leader Lars Klingbeil speaks to the press during the ARD Summer Interview in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Sommer

In a situation where the government is facing multiple decisions in a short space of time, ministers also require the strength to “reconsider and correct their path”, Klingbeil told RND.

“(The gas levy) is about supporting the gas supply infrastructure,” he added. “However, this must be done fairly.”

In spite of the nationalisation of Uniper, Habeck has confirmed that the gas levy – which adds 2.4 cents per kilowatt hour of energy onto gas bills – will still be introduced on October 1st.

However, on Thursday he announced that there would be changes to Energy Security Act to ensure that only companies who needed the bailout would benefit from the levy.

According to the ministry, the changes are set to be passed by the cabinet on September 28th.

READ ALSO: Germany to push ahead with gas levy plans

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