Angela Merkel must think she walks on water. Often portrayed by the media as the “Indespencible European”, she is vain enough to believe only she can save Europe. But clearly, as evidenced by the migrants overwhelming desire for Germany, she, more than anyone, enabled the refugee crisis to morph into a life of its own. It was Merkel who said, “Come to Germany…we can do it”.
Her Turkey Deal is pure spin for domestic consumption designed to give restless Germans the impression that she has it “under control”. Indeed, Germany has seen its migrant inflow decrease, but this had very little to do with The Merkel-Erdogan Pact. Merkel is taking credit (and Erdogan is too, creating more ways to siphon money off the EU) for the work of others she once described as “not my Europe”.
However, the reductions (not subtractions) in Germany started to occur before March 20, the day the Turkey Deal began. In fact, despite its tough but useless deportation talk, over 6,600 new migrants reached Greece after that deadline. A month later, only 325 migrants have been sent back to Turkey. Somehow the deal is in reverse cycle, and somehow we all knew it would be.
The key to reducing the flow of migrants to Germany was started much earlier than the Turkey Deal. The Balkan states, Austria and others, impatient with the Greece Open Border Wave-through, decided to take matters into their own hands to protect their people. Macedonia, a non-EU state, formally closed its borders on March 7. Despite the violence by migrants directed at their sovereign border, they have not succumbed to the masses. As a result, they have saved Merkel’s skin. For if that border remained open, Germany would have been flooded.
The Macedonia Balkan closing is also the reason the inflows have slowed in Greece despite the insistence that it’s border would remain open. Greece is still allowing irregulars to enter, but the demand has slowed. Why? The migrants have made it quite clear that they desire Germany or Sweden, two rich welfare states. They have no desire to stay in Greece or the Czech Republic (many Iraqi refugees voluntarily taken by Czechs were caught trying to migrate to Germany). One only has to look at the violent attacks against Macedonia’s border by the migrants stuck in Greece who want to go to Germany to get the picture.
With that pipeline closed from Greece to Germany, there is no longer any incentive for Greece. Many seem to prefer the camps in Turkey over a life in Greece, or they are testing alternative routes to Germany, such as the coast of Italy. The point is that the EU-Turkey deal is of little substance; it was the Balkan closing that was the Game Changer.
Angela Merkel has been a disaster on this issue. She talks solidarity, but does not practice it. She neither listens to others nor appreciates their efforts. She alone wants the credit for solving the crisis; as a result, the crisis grows and grows. Merkel has become isolated, so much that she is now trying to deal with Erdogan, which is a useless time waster.
Instead, she should be not only thanking Macedonia, the V4 and others in the Balkan regions, but also seeking their advice on realistic solutions.