Will Germany give up on European integration?

Ivan Krastev writes: The millions of people storming the borders of the European Union today are right to believe that migration is the best revolution. It is a revolution of the individual, not the masses. The European Union is more attractive than any 20th-century utopia, for the simple reason that it exists. But as it looks today, the migrants’ revolution could easily inspire a counterrevolution in Europe.

The myriad acts of solidarity toward refugees fleeing war and persecution that we saw months ago are today overshadowed by their inverse: a raging anxiety that these same foreigners will compromise Europe’s welfare model and historic culture. Cellphone images of foreign-looking men attacking and abusing German women during New Year’s in Cologne crystallized the fear that liberal governments are too weak and confused to defend Europe, and that the situation with migration is spiraling out of control.

Even before Cologne, a majority of Germans had started to doubt that their country could integrate those hundreds of thousands of Syrians, Afghans and others who have arrived in the last year. Chancellor Angela Merkel, who until recently was the symbol of the European Union’s self-confidence and resilience, is now portrayed as a Gorbachev-like figure, noble but naïve, somebody whose “Wir shaffen es” — “We can do it” — policy has put Europe at risk.

But it is not only the refugees who have arrived, and those on the way, that keep Berlin’s government on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Germany has a second, less discussed but no less disturbing integration problem: European integration itself. [Continue reading…]

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