germany, refugees

Germany’s pro-migrant sentiment is weakening

Germany has taken in more than a million asylum seekers over the last two years, and, according to a recent poll, so-called 'welcoming policy' toward newcomers may be waning.

A new study by country's largest non-profit organization The Bertelsmann Foundation shows that general attitude toward asylum seekers remains positive: 74% of Germans say migrants are welcome, 59% think the same of refugees.

However, Germans remain uncertain in their attitude toward migrants: 65% regard immigration process as positive in Germany’s struggle against its aging population, 60% criticize discrimination against migrants for complicating the integration process. At the same time, general skepticism about refugee issue arose, indicating changes in citizens’ perception of Germany’s current internal situation. 97% of the interviewed respondents assume migrants have to make more efforts for proper cohabitation with indigenous German population. The percentage of those, who feel like Germany has reached its limit on refugees, over the last two years has risen from 40 to 54%. Only 37% of respondents believe Germany is still able to take in refugees as it serves humanitarian purpose, compared to 51% holding the same opinion in 2015.


Recent years were tough for Germany's leader, Angela Merkel, criticized heavily for her well-known statement ‘We can do it’ in 2015 and subsequent so-called ‘Willkommenspolitik’ toward migrants and refugees, fleeing from crisis-hit countries like Libya or Syria. As a result, since 2015 Germany has taken in over a million newcomers, more than any other European country.

81% of Germans support the idea to define certain number of refugees every EU member has to take in according to his size and economic situation.

“The people of Germany are looking back self-assuredly on having warmly received so many refugees. But they also say that other countries should step up to the plate,” said Jörg Dräger, Bertelsmann Foundation CEO.
As Daily Telegraph noted, this sentiment was particularly strong in the former East, where as little as 33 percent of the respondents said they were still able to accept migrants.
Apart from East-West criterion, the study also discovered results depend on respondent’s educational and financial level (the lower it is, the lower is the willingness to keep taking refugees in) and age. One out of two respondents aged 14-29 believes Germany should keep taking refugees in due as it serves humane purpose. One out of three of Germans aged between 30 and 59 hold the same opinion, 29% if respondent is above 60.

40% of Germans aged under 30 feel the country has reached its limit on refugees, percentage of respondents sharing this point of view among two older groups is 54 and 65 respectively.

Artur Meier, Jep News

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