The Wages of willkommenskultur
With Merkel’s Popularity Tanking, New Anti-Terror Laws Announced

Days after the second July terror attack in Germany was claimed by ISIS, a pollster found that Germans were not blaming Angela Merkel’s open doors policies for the violence: only 28 percent said they saw a link. But that Forsa poll may have been held too quickly after the event. An Infratest dimap poll, held a week later, saw support for Merkel drop by 12 percent in July, while support for Horst Seehofer, her political adversary from Bavaria, rise by 11.

Now, a week later still, the trend is confirmed. Reuters:

With just over a year before a federal election, the poll for public broadcaster ZDF gave conservative Merkel an approval rating of 1.0, down from 1.4 in July on a scale of 5.0 to -5.0.

She came fourth in a ranking of politicians behind the Green state premier of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, Social Democrat Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and conservative Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. […]

Merkel’s open-door migrant policy is under intense scrutiny after two attacks claimed by the jihadist militant group Islamic State last month.

The poll showed only 44 percent of Germans think her migrant policy is good and 52 percent view it as bad.

Given that this is the mood after a series of “loner” attacks that haven’t resulted in mass casualties, German authorities are wasting no time in putting down stricter anti-terror policies in place. EUObserver:

The new measures include stripping German citizenship from dual-nationals caught fighting alongside extremist militant groups abroad. Any plan to strip citizenship is likely to meet opposition from the centre-left social democrats (SPD) and the Greens, German media report .

De Maiziere also aims at adding more police and surveillance staff, criminalising the promotion of terrorism, and making it easier to deport migrants who commit crimes.

However, earlier ideas to slap a ban on full-face veil burqas have been shelved.

Instead, authorities will be granted access to search the social media accounts of refugees if they carry no passports or other identity cards.

De Maiziere said people seeking international protection often have no ID papers, but most often carry smartphones. The devices are crucial to refugees. But de Maiziere said they also contain information that could reveal possible security threats. “If you want to come to Germany, we have to make safety checks on you. And to make safety checks, we will ask you to show us your Facebook contacts from the last few months, which are public in principle anyway,” said de Maiziere.

-1x-1Politically, it’s a not a bad move. On the one hand, Merkel gets to keep talking as if she hasn’t budged on her principles, and on willkommenskultur. The ongoing real impact of the open doors policy has been minimized by the shuttering of the Balkan migrant corridor, and reinforced the deal with Turkey (though, as we noted, some Europeans are thinking that the Turkey deal itself may not be the critical element in keeping the numbers down).

On the other hand, her coalition gets to blow the law-and-order horn—always a gesture that’s welcomed by a nervous population.

Will the new laws be enough to forestall a Paris-style massacre in Germany? We certainly hope so, but only time will tell.

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