Budapest, August 30 (MTI) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s famous catchphrase “Wir schaffen das” (“We can do this”), coined last summer during the height of Europe’s migrant crisis as Germany was preparing to open its borders to asylum seekers, has turned out to be an empty phrase, according to Hungarian-born German political analyst and journalist Georg Paul Hefty.
“Wir schaffen das” is just an empty phrase because there is no way to determine what the German government wants to achieve, Hefty told MTI in an interview marking one year since Germany adopted its open-door policy for Syrian migrants. Merkel might as well have said “we can get through this too”, as that would have been a more credible statement, Hefty said.
Hefty said the earliest anyone will be able to judge whether Merkel was successful in integrating refugees into German society will be two decades from now. “But even then, we won’t know how things will stand at the end of the third decade,” he said. “Two-thirds of the newcomers will be able to integrate but the late integration of the remaining one-third can cause a lot of problems,” Hefty added.
Asked if there was an alternative migrant policy Germany could adopt if the migration pact between the EU and Turkey fails, Hefty said political commentators had been critical of what looked like a lack of alternatives to Merkel’s polices long before the migrant crisis. This means there is no alternative to the Germany-EU-Turkey pact, either, he said.
He said he expects that if needed, Germany will provide large amounts of financial aid to Greece and Bulgaria, not least because it does not want Hungary’s migration policy to be vindicated. He said it would be a success for Merkel if Hungary’s border fence became devoid of purpose.
Hefty also commented on an article published in conservative German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung last weekend which said Germany has lost its prestige in the eyes of eastern European countries due to Merkel’s migration policy. He said the concerns listed in the article were exactly in line with those of Germany’s right-wing voters, namely that Poland and Hungary could be right to oppose migration.