Pegida can be tamed
Germany is now the second most attractive destination for migrants worldwide, after the United States, according to figures issued last year by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. The image produced by these statistics of a Germany at ease with being a multicultural society is now cracking. Rallies by the Pegida movement demanding a tightening of German immigration policies are attended by up to 25,000 protesters in Dresden each week, while smaller chapters exist in Bamberg, Bonn and Leipzig.
To judge by their slogans, these protesters are marching against a multicultural society. This might suggest that Germany will go the way of France, where an anti-immigrant party, the National Front, is now a fixture of the political landscape. But a comparison between the two countries is misleading.
Two major differences are crucial. First, polarization between multicultural and conservative political forces in Germany is far less pronounced than in France; second, political forces in Germany have many more options to counter concerns over German identity than their French counterparts.