Fraud (up 1.3 percent), computer fraud (a 2.8 percent increase) and drug offenses (9.2 percent higher) all rose, but the number of illegal border crossings dropped 79.9 percent.
Germans Are ‘Turning Against Their Leadership’
Migration is at the heart of the current political crisis in Germany — the country is struggling to absorb more than one million migrants — and threatens to tear apart the governing coalition led by Ms. Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union.
The issue has weakened Ms. Merkel and her party, contributing to an environment in which far-right groups have flourished. But there are no clear indicators that the German people as a whole have turned against the government.
It is true that the country’s mainstream parties — the Christian Democrats, the Social Democrats and the Christian Social Union — have lost votes since Ms. Merkel introduced her open-door policy in 2015. But, together, they still accounted for more than 53 percent of the vote in elections last September. And even as she has come under heavy criticism, Ms. Merkel remains the country’s most popular politician.
The reason for the political crisis is a split in Ms. Merkel’s coalition. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, leader of the Christian Social Union, is facing elections in Bavaria against the far-right Alternative for Germany party, or AfD.
Although the AfD’s level of support in polls is only about 15 percent, Mr. Seehofer wants to stem the party’s momentum and protect his flank on the political right.
Ahead of a state election in Bavaria in October, Mr. Seehofer is demanding that the government tighten its policy on accepting migrants who are arriving in Germany through another European Union country. Ms. Merkel has resisted, since the change would violate European Union law.
Migration Has ‘Strongly and Violently’ Changed European Culture
Needs more context.
There’s little doubt the huge wave of migration that began to hit Europe in 2015 has placed enormous strains on European unity, with leaders and officials unable to come up with a practical and cohesive strategy to deal with the influx of a mostly Muslim migrant population.
The tensions have been visible in various forms around the Continent:
• Migration played a crucial role in the decision by British voters to withdraw from the European Union, commonly known as Brexit.
• The facilities used to house migrants arriving in Greece, a common landing point for many migrants, are often dangerous and decrepit.
• Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary is among the nationalist leaders who has used migrants as a foil to bolster his political position.
Most recently, Italy, which now includes a right-wing, anti-immigrant party as part of its governing coalition, refused to accept a boat carrying more than 600 migrants; it was eventually taken in by Spain.
And yet, for all of that, there is little to support Mr. Trump’s declaration that migration has “strongly and violently” changed European culture. It has certainly changed European politics, though.
Continue reading the main story