Der Spiegel reports: We can do it. That’s the message Chancellor Angela Merkel has been giving her country ever since she pledged in late August to provide refuge to anyone coming from Syria in addition to others seeking protection from violence and warfare. The initial euphoria in the country was significant, with tens of thousands of everyday Germans joining the army of helpers to try and cope with the huge influx of needy refugees.
But there have since been signs that the initial elation is fading. The most obvious, of course, was Berlin’s reintroduction of border controls on the German frontier with Austria a little over a week ago. But there have been others as well: Frustration in German states about insufficient federal assistance; grumbling within Merkel’s party about her open door policy; and conflicts with the Social Democrats within Merkel’s governing coalition.
Indeed, Germany is struggling to maintain its composure and to ward off panic despite all the rising doubts.
Can it be done? [Continue reading…]
The New York Times reports: After weeks of indecision, the European Union voted on Tuesday to distribute 120,000 asylum seekers among member states, a plan meant to display unity in the face of the largest movement of refugees on the Continent since World War II.
Instead, the decision — forced through by a majority vote, over the bitter objections of four eastern members — did as much to underline the bloc’s widening divisions, even over a modest step that barely addresses the crisis.
Nearly half a million migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe this year, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a number that is only expected to rise. [Continue reading…]