Picture of a veiled woman walking on the street with her child in a stroller in Germany
  Clash of civilisations? Photo credit The Economist

Germany’s new security measures: Integration panic

Article in the The Economist
21 August, 2016

“In response to the anxiety, politicians have come out with a burst of proposals claiming to get tough on terrorists, tough on security, tough on integrating refugees—in short, tough on the whole confused range of identity-politics issues that are making Germans nervous. On August 18th the eight interior ministers of German federal states who belong to the Christian Democratic Union, the centre-right party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, met in Berlin to issue a declaration summing up the proposals. Some of these, such as adding more police, are uncontroversial. Others that are politically explosive include restricting dual citizenship and banning the public wearing of burqas (veils covering both body and face).

Germany has already tightened asylum rules in the past year—making it easier, for example, to deport refugees who commit crimes. On August 11th Thomas de Maizière, the federal interior minister, offered his own ideas to get even tougher. These range from increasing video surveillance to easing confidentiality requirements between doctors and patients, so that psychiatrists, say, can tell on people they deem dangerous (though doctors are already obliged to report such cases).”

The absence of a long term vision on mobility and migration breeds incoherence and panic, and this strengthens the nationalist populist anti-immigration discourse everywhere. Unfortunately, States do not seem to be ready to embrace mobility as an essential feature of contemporary societies, a feature that can bring great rewards if well governed. The draft outcome document for the 19 September Summit on large movements of refugees and migrants falls far short of the mark and we now see Germany regressing for lack of long term planning. Will we all have to suffer through a whole generation of nationalist populist policies and governments, particularly in Europe, before the twenty-somethings of today – who are much less afraid of mobility and diversity – come to power and help us come to our senses?

To read the full article in The Economist, please click on the following link.

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