An article by Human Rights Watch reported that Germany has been receiving a staggering 890,000 asylum seekers and migrants in 2015 alone, drawing attention from critics, scholars and media persons alike. Some argue that this is an attempt in part for Germany to cleanse or make up for its dark past by performing humanitarian acts. According to Mark Melin, the author of High-Performance Managed Futures and editor for Opalesque.com, these efforts can “cost nearly 21 billion euros, which amounts to nearly 0.7% of Germany’s total GDP” (Melin). Some argue, however, that such expensive efforts are guided by more than just benign humanitarian compassion. Jennifer Clibbon, a News and Documentary television Producer working at CBC Radio, provides several reasons for the previously mentioned generosity by the German government. According to Cribbon, Germany played a “Controversial role in the Greek debt crisis” (Cribbon). “Germany supposedly cashed in 1.3 Billion Euros since the beginning of the Greeks financial crisis in 2009,” an RT news reporter said. Therefore, some see this humanitarian effort an investment strategy to counter the former’s responsibility to help Greece in a time of economic hardship. With this controversy straining the German global reputation, the administration is accused of using the German Refugee Crisis to improve its global image. Also, the outbreak of cultural xenophobia as manifested in public posters such as “Unser Land, Unsere Heimat” meaning “Our Country our Homeland” is yet another aspect that does not fully align with the sudden humanitarian efforts. Angela Merkel denies the existence of any alternative motive behind the active refugee absorption campaign.
One of the biggest issues with refugee resettlement lies in integrating the new arrivals into the society and the economy. The social integration in Germany is displayed by such organizations as “We Together.” As stated by a World Economic Forum reporter Norbert Winkeljohann “around 100 companies have joined Wir Zusammen or We Together, a group that help integrate new arrivals into German Society.” Winkeljohann states where companies have a clear reason for employing the new “diverse and often highly-skilled workforce” are rapidly adopting the changing demographics. By integrating these immigrant communities into the workforce quickly, Germany is able to redirect the resources toward allowing more refugees to enter and establishment of programs and organizations such as Wir Zusammen that will benefit the German Economy. The current establishment in Germany claims to view this as an opportunity for the cultivation of a symbiotic relationship where both the parties benefit from each other.
Even if the claims that are made to stain the German efforts are true and that the German government is merely attempting to boost its current global image through these humanitarian tactics, the outcome of the ‘strategy’ is still positive. If a country is willing to absorb and effectively integrate refugees from conflict areas into their society in order to improve its image, I will say it is worth the effort. A boost in ratings is a small price to pay when it comes to saving the families around the world that live in conflict afflicted areas.
Phoyo Credit: Haeferi, 2013