Op-Ed in The Guardian: Refugee Crisis: We Welcome the Praise but German Response is as Pragmatic as Idealistic
Rarely do my liberal-minded international friends ring to offer congratulations on the leadership of my country. That was certainly not the case during the Greek crisis. But the picture seems to have changed in the space of a few weeks. Heartwarming, humanitarian, kind and warm are the words that are used to describe the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and her stance on refugees.
My international chums applaud her willingness to take up to 800,000 refugees and for being one of the few world leaders standing up for humanitarian values in the largest refugee crisis since the second world war. For them, she is “mother Merkel”.
However, Merkel more or less stumbled into this position only in the past fortnight. Asked a few weeks ago whether Merkel had adequately reacted to the refugee crisis, 53% of the German public said no. For a long time, the German government was very comfortable with the Dublin agreements and leaving Italy and Greece alone to bear the brunt as countries where refugees first entered the European Union. Only now that refugees are coming to Germany in larger numbers and putting unprecedented and unforeseen strain on German communities do we see leadership in this matter.