Arne Delfs writes: Angela Merkel is pushing the boundaries of her realpolitik.
A leader whose pragmatism trumps ideology every time, the German chancellor faces international criticism, alienated voters and a rift in her coalition because of her choices in combating the refugee crisis.
That might just be the start of her difficulties. With the European Union deal she pushed with Turkey beginning to deter illegal migration, Merkel is shifting her focus to the surge in refugee flows across the central Mediterranean to Italy. And that means engaging with Libya and Egypt.
Merkel will host U.S. President Barack Obama and the leaders of the U.K., France and Italy in Hanover, western Germany, on Monday to discuss Libya and migration, Syria and Islamic State, along with what the White House described as additional steps NATO allies must take to address the “challenges on Europe’s eastern and southern periphery.”
German intelligence suggests some one million refugees are waiting in the Maghreb countries to cross to Europe, causing alarm in the Chancellery in Berlin, according to an official from Merkel’s party who asked not to be named discussing internal deliberations.
German foreign policy is now “driven by the domestic imperative to bring down the number of refugees: this is Merkel’s live-or-die issue,” said Josef Janning, head of the Berlin office of the European Council on Foreign Relations. Germany is set to become “much more active” in North Africa, and “for Merkel this is a challenge, because you have to be cautious about doing things that the public doesn’t understand.” [Continue reading…]