Thilo Sarrazin: What Price is Europe Paying for the Refugee Agreement?

Thilo Sarrazin is the author of Deutschland schafft sich ab (“Germany Abolishes Itself”), an anti-immigration book that cost him his position on the board of Deutsche Bundesbank and made him a pariah among his former comrades in the Social Democrats. The following op-ed by Mr. Sarrazin, which was published on Sunday at the blog Die Achse des Guten, has been translated by Rembrandt Clancy.

Frau Merkel Assumes a Reserved Stance

by Thilo Sarrazin

17 April 2016

The past weeks have brought two deciding events, which could become the turning points for German (and European) contemporary history:

The Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) entered three additional state parliaments with double-digit returns. In Saxony-Anhalt and Baden-Württemberg they became the second largest party; in Rhineland-Palatinate they won more votes than the Greens and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) combined, and then with an unusually high voter participation. With respect to the overriding refugee question, many citizens apparently perceived the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Social Democratic Party (SPD), Greens and the Left parties to be an opinion cartel and voted for the only party which called for an alternate refugee and immigration policy.

The coming months will show whether the as yet entirely inexperienced AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) mature into a major conservative party and overcome their relegation to the right-wing fringe. But this period will also show whether the other parties have understood the message of these elections. Many initial reactions give cause for doubt. The predominant analysis of established parties was that 75 to 85 percent of the voters did not choose the AfD, and this circumstance allows them to point to an overwhelming approval of the federal government’s refugee policy. Angela Merkel in particular acts as if the election results are of no importance to her federal government policy. As always it was Horst Seehofer of the Union, who as the only leading politician, dissented. But this dissent has a more muted effect each time it occurs, since it obviously does not lead to action. [Union: Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU) collectively]

Finding relief from the strongest enemies of the refugee policy

The federal government is finding relief in the strongest enemies of their refugee policy: the closure of the Balkan route launched in concert by Austria and the Balkan states led to dramatically declining arrival figures. Shortly before Easter, there were in fact several evenings in which refugees were not featured in the lead story of the television news. Good people in responsible positions were able to sidestep responsibility: The decline in the refugee numbers provided urgently needed relief, whilst their own welcoming culture need not be called into question.

The second deciding event was the EU refugee summit with Turkey. It left numerous questions open to be sure, but the nucleus of the agreement with Turkey nevertheless put a great deal in motion: if in future Greece actually sends back to Turkey all newly arriving refugees, soon there will no longer be anyone left to embark on this refugee route. Success of one part of the agreement means that the other part will run dry: if only a few refugees leave Turkey for Greece, only a few will also return; and the number of other refugees whom Turkey can then pass on to Europe as compensation will be correspondingly small.

On the other hand, in other respects this is good; for at the refugee summit, there was clearly no attempt made to agree a method for the distribution of refugees and illegal immigrants throughout the Schengen area. But such a settlement is prerequisite to the ability of the Schengen system to function at all over the long term.

The question of terrorism cannot be meaningfully separated from the refugee question

A large number of Schengen countries have reservations about the further reception of refugees and illegal immigrants. That applies not only to the Eastern European states, but also to countries like France and Belgium. The integration of Muslims in those countries has succeeded only partially. The terrorist attacks which so rocked the two countries came from these groups. Moreover, it became clear from the connections which have been disclosed over the past weeks, that it is no longer possible to meaningfully separate the question of terrorism from the refugee question. The secret services are also aware of that, but the confusion in people’s minds has become much greater. Inevitably those political factions fundamentally in critical opposition to immigration from the Islamic cultural sphere will be strengthened.

If we assume that Angela Merkel would like to maintain the nucleus of her refugee policy, that obviously means that large numbers of people would continue to arrive, only they would simply be organised and distributed among the Schengen countries on the basis of an agreed procedure. Whom does she still have as allies? The Scandinavian states and Austria are no longer allies, while the Eastern European countries have never been allies. That leaves the Netherlands, Switzerland and Italy. In any case, the latter allows all refugees to continue their journey north, and in fact only a few even want to remain in Italy because the social services are so poor.

Conclusion: either Germany will continue to accept the bulk of the refugees and illegal immigrants to Europe, or she will change her welcoming culture. For this point to be reached, the agreement with Turkey could constitute a stepping stone. But does it really? Presumably Angela Merkel herself is not aware of this; obviously she is assuming a reserved stance. Never will she admit having acted improperly when last year she opened the borders.

The People Smugglers are already Redirecting Themselves

The agreement with Turkey has won time until the summer. All those Germans still disinclined to take leave of their illusions can project their wishes onto its success. By summer it will be apparent that even in the event of the agreement’s success, ample refugee routes across the Mediterranean will remain open. Already the people smugglers are redirecting themselves.

By the summer we will even know whether the price Europe is paying for the agreement is acceptable: Turkey would like the visa exemption for her citizens. In order to acquire it, the refugee waves serve as a lever to exert pressure. Visa exemption could, however, signify the next large wave of refugees: 30 percent of Turkish citizens are of Kurdish origin. Erdogan’s government is waging war against this minority. For the Kurds who have been persecuted and victimised by this war it could be very easy in the future should they wish to apply for asylum in Europe: They would only have to board an aeroplane with valid personal identification, and their reasons for asylum would be at least as good as those of numerous Eritreans, Afghans and Syrians. Did Angela Merkel consider the implications of visa exemption for Turkey or did she approve them? No matter how one looks at it, there is no concept to be discerned either intellectually or practically in the German refugee policy.

7 thoughts on “Thilo Sarrazin: What Price is Europe Paying for the Refugee Agreement?

  1. In their haste to flood Europe with 3rd world invaders and so implement the mad Kalergi plan, Merkel and her co-conspirators ignored all practical and economic considerations as well as the threat to social cohesion. The last was deliberate because the destruction of Western society is a primary objective. The revolving door component of the Turkey “deal” magically converts illegal immigrants into legal ones who can now come to Europe without getting their feet wet, along with 70 million Turks in the near future. The massive cash payments serve to weaken Europe financially, thus also contributing to the campaign objectives.

    The German refugee policy is a program of white genocide, staggeringly evil, and can only be understood in these terms.

    • I cannot believe that Merkel is STILL a free woman, how can Germany and the rest of the EU permit the death of the European continent because of the deluded ambitions of one individual? Apart from the protests of a few brave individuals such as Le Pen, Nigel Farage, Geert Wilders and others, and the smaller Eastern European states, it can only be concluded that the major leaders in the EU are complicit and culpable too. Even the naive Pope is getting in on the act now, whose communist leanings would appear to “compliment” the actions of the “former” communist Merkel! How the Germans and the rest of Europe must regret the fall of the Berlin Wall now.

  2. Many thanks for this translation Rembrandt Clancy. This is a succinct and concise analysis of the situation facing Germany, and by extension, all of the EU. The ethnic cleansing of the Kurds is receiving only fleeting mention in western European MSM, let alone the prospect of several million Kurds flying into Europe to claim asylum as soon as June. The logic and reality expressed so well by Mr. Sarrazin here needs to be grasped very quickly by leaders throughout the EU very rapidly and practical responses implemented as fast. Unfortunately, it appears that no such reversal to the mad ideological thinking behind the Welcome Culture will emerge in time for a comparatively orderly resolution for the protection of civilised societies in Europe. Thus the inevitable reaction when it finally reaches critical mass will be more fraught and bloody.

  3. Hi folks, a bit off topic, but
    here’s some good news.

    Brief recap, the AfD is a new German party, founded only 3 years ago, and by now in between 2nd and 4th place… Frau Frauke Petry, leader of the party, has already stated that the federal border police and the regular police at the borders should use and employ the constitutional right, and duty, to repel anyone who wants to cross the border illegally or without sufficient reason, by use of firearms – after a warning of course.

    The new party manifesto will be issued in two weeks. However, they have already released some of what will be in there, namely, and enjoy!:

    1) An end to the defamation of critics of Islam as Islamophobes, Racists etc. That will become illegal.
    2) Prohibition for unconstitutional organizations to build and / or to operate mosques
    3) Prohibition of the financing of mosques by Islamic states or foreign financiers
    4) Any imams will have to educated in German universities and in German (not Arabic or any other language)
    5) Prohibition of minarets and muezzin prayer calls
    6) Denial of the status of a “public rights body/institution” (my best possible translation of the actual German, I think you can guess the meaning) of all Islamic organizations.
    7) Prohibition of Burqas in public
    8) Prohibition of any type of headscarf for teachers and pupils / students

    You can guess, the enemedia (what Pamela Geller calls them) exploded, NSDAP comparisons, the usual bull… However, there’s a highly – if not extremely – significant exception, the ‘Bild Zeitung’, probably Europe’s largest tabloid, the (financial) flagship of the Springer Verlag, Europe’s equivalent to Murdoch.

    They seem to have recently began to disengage from the “hurrah for refugees” theatre clap trap. Perhaps the magnates are sensitive to were, and on what, we spend our money, just a thought. Be that as it may, the Bild Zeitung articled that it is unwise for the major parties to condemn, and to badmouth the AfD. Instead, they should be engaged in dialogue, and then proven to be wrong. They stated further that a large part of the views of populace should not be ignored, or ridden rough-shot over by the mainstream parties. Which is a tell tale, coming from such a paper. Consider this, and smile, the AfD is polled with 15% currently, but many of those questioned don’t want to be slandered as Islamophobes, Nazis etc. Before the German Super-Sunday the AfD polled a mere 7-9% at best. However, it averaged ~20%, and in Saxony it put the CDU in the second or third place. To put that into context, until about 10 or 15 years ago the CDU and the SPD pulled between them something like 80-90%. Merkel has practically taken the CDU from the right center / conservative to the left of the SPD, which is now more left than ever. They current poll is ~38-39% for the CDU, whilst the SDP is down to it’s lowest in modern German history, 19%… And, as said, AfD 15%, after existing for only 3 years. Take heart Trump supporters, you are on the right track.

    People, it gets better.

    Many, or at least some of you, will remember Helmut Kohl, chancellor of reunification, chummy with Ronny Reagan. It was stipulated or understood that NATO stays where it is, and even the Bundeswehr would not move into the former east Germany. Fat chance, Kohl had the Bundeswehr in east Germany within weeks, and thus NATO. And continued to press for and prepare NATO’s eastern expansion. Even his friend Reagan was rather sceptical if that could be pulled off. In essence, Kohl is the grand old man of European politics, if not western politics, I think he’s the oldest of the survivors. He’s now 86 and wheelchair bound, and everyday counts…

    Right, scene is set. Despite his frailness and long term absence from politics he invited an active, serving politician, whom he never met and who is many years his junior, for a personal visit, and a full hour at that! And a head of state on top of that – who duly came and attended. Practically an audience, guess whom: Victor Orban! One hour. The press was out in force, but preselected by Kohl’s guards. Victor Orban presented flowers and they talked. There was a joined statement and two personal comments. The statement was that Mrs. Merkel runs Germany and her politics are good – so said Victor Orban, and Kohl. Diplomatically.

    Victor Orban said as a personal comment that a gentleman, or dean, like Mr. Kohl should not be pressed into current politics, and instead should be able to enjoy his peace and remaining time.

    Helmut Kohl said as a personal comment that it was wrong to let such a vast, uncontrollable number of refugees into Europe, and Germany. He said further that it is right for Europe to help in such a humanitarian catastrophe to the utmost of its abilities – in their home or safe countries. Which can provide them with a compatible environment. And then added that Victor Orban ran his country wisely. (I translated as much as I transliterated).

    Voctor Orban left beaming, like a kid who received his most desired present at an early Christmas.

    Personally, I think Merkel is drooling venom and looking for a voodoo priest. And perhaps resents the day she stabbed Kohl, her former mentor, in the back. Ah, sweet justice, how does it go? Revenge tastes best when enjoyed cold. Revenge? How about, vendetta?!

    I trust you liked, and enjoyed, the off topic news…

    Regards all, DFD
    (And forgive me for a bit of cross posting 🙂 )

    • Hi DFD,

      I just saw your post and indeed enjoyed it.

      I have a quibble, though, about the plank in the AfD platform, which criminalizes the equating of criticism is Islam with Islamophobia.

      The whole point of free speech is that you get to make outrageous statements. Once you accept the principle that speech with which you disagree can be criminalized, it is simply a matter of power, rather than facts, which allows some speech and criminalizes other speech.

      Better to allow all outrageous and illogical assertions, and let the marketplace of ideas sort them out.

      • Hi Ronald,

        Bit late to reply, sorry about that.

        Apparently it came across the wrong way. What they want to criminalize is the badmouthing of those who criticize Islam.

        For instance, assume you say something critical about Islam, or something that Muslims simply don’t want to hear. Now, XYZ calls you an Islamophobe. Under their proposal, XYZ will be the criminal, *not you*.

        I hope that cleared that up. Problems with translation…

  4. Rembrandt Clancy translated “fährt auf Sicht” (literally: drives by sight) by “assumes a reserved stance”. Twice (both in the title and the body of the text). I wouldn’t have equated these two expressions. Could someone help me please clarify this linguistic puzzle?

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