Spotlight on Geopolitics

The biggest refugee crisis in Europe since WWII looks set to get worse in 2016. The country most responsible for the huge inflow of migrants from the Middle East is, as we all know, Germany.

What is less well-documented is the fact that its state apparatus simply cannot cope anymore. Chancellor Angela Merkel is quick to reassure her national and European audiences that her country can handle the challenges of integrating a million refugees, but events have proved her wrong time and again.

The New Year’s Eve disorders in Cologne are, according to German police, just the tip of the iceberg. The sheer numbers of refugees Germany has agreed to accept have led to administrative and security chaos in a country known until recently as one of the best-run and most orderly in the world.

To be sure, last year’s huge refugee influx is only partly to blame. At least as important a cause has been Germany’s adoption of tough austerity policies in recent years, which had seriously affected the budget and capabilities of the police and civil service, both on a local and federal level. After years of hugely misguided austerity, Germany nowadays has 10,000 less police than in the year 2000. Since 2014, repeated requests by the Interior Ministry for the hiring of an additional 3,000 personnel have been denied funding by Mr. Schaeuble’s ministry, the latter being bent on balancing the German budget at the expense of its citizens’ most basic security needs.

What’s worse, nobody can expect this situation to improve anytime soon. Although the creation of 3,000 new posts has recently been approved, the new police recruits will have to be trained first, becoming effective only in 2019. Meanwhile, the safety of ordinary German citizens will continue to be affected by the chaos engulfing the entire country and the lack of manpower and resources needed to deal effectively with the migrants’ influx.

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