The rise of anti-immigrant policy in EU Deutsche Welle
Merkel with refugees in Berlin

On Sunday, September 18th, Berliners were asked to vote and determine who would be the leader of the local government in Berlin, which runs on its own as one of the 16 federal states in Germany.

Several days before the actual election the exit polls indicated important losses of Merkel’s party (CDU) and a great rise for the right extremists, the anti-immigrant party (AdF). Apparently that led to an instant reaction on behalf of the European newscasters, as well as on behalf of the other EU member states. Judging from Sunday’s results, everybody’s worries were completely justified.

The day after phrases like ‘The Nazis are back in Berlin’ prevailed in every social media platform and massive media.

To be honest they did so in some degree

Well, they achieved getting 14.1% of the total votes, instead of the speculated 15% and they ended up on the fifth place, even though they were expected to finish third after the social democrats and the Christian democrats.

However it is an enormous success not just for them, but also to the anti-immigration policy, which is backed up by a variety of European politicians as well. That fact underlines that even in big, liberal and open-minded cities, like Berlin, such movements, which obviously depict people’s fear and frustration, come across with the public legitimization. This is also the first time that a party from the extreme right wing earns a spot in the state parliament since the end of the Second World War.

Markel is utterly concerned since her party keeps losing states one right after the other. It is said that she will run again for Chancellor of the 2017 election, but could she actually win it? Again?

The Christian democrats are losing entire territories that they used to reign, whereas the social democrats movement find common grounds with the Left and the Green parties, aiming for a potential coalition. If that happened, it would definitely bring the end of an era; an era of undoubtful growth on the inside and general prosperity. Her open door policy towards the massive waves of refugees could cost her the forthcoming electoral victory in 2017.I am inclined to believe that she adhered to her values and she behaved like an actual leader of one of the most powerful countries in the world. She set the example, as the iron lady of Germany, to the rest of the member states, so that they would act in the same way and eventually take part in the refugee relocation programme. Although in situations like the ones we have experienced over the last year, solidarity should be taken for granted, that did not happen. People find no safe routes that could lead them to western Europe. They are coerced to stay for an unspecified period of time in the first entering countries, like Greece and Italy.

Let’s not kid ourselves though. In cases that the right extremists reach such high levels of acceptance in one of the most innovating countries in the world, in a country that is trying to renounce its violent and self-destructive past, which constituted the heart of fascism, anti-Semitism and hate, a country that has ever since done a 360 degrees turn in its history. Consequently the recession(fiscal, economic and social) is not over. Brexit supporters in the UK, Marine Le Pen in France, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands and the rise of AdF in Germany are facts strongly linked with one another. The multidimensional crisis that the international community is dealing with over that last 8 years has lead to those unpleasant developments and it is still not certain when this downfall ends and what the further effects of this phenomenon are going to be.

I think that the solution in crisis is unity instead of division; Co-operation among the states and solidarity between the citizens of the world. Because tomorrow it could be you, who is forced to abandon your house, your belongings and your entire life, going to the unknown, setting your life in danger. Struggling to survive, children are separated from their parents and end up alone in a foreign country facing tons of difficulties.

All in all I am proud to be a European citizen, because theoretically at least we stand for equality, human rights, solidarity and unity. Theoretically. Incidents like the referendum in Hungary, which is considered to be void because of the high level of abstention, even though the result of the ones that voted was 98.32% rejecting the relocation programme in accordance with certain percentages, or the anti-immigrant spray that has been ‘cleverly’ invented in a small city in Denmark make me feel ashamed of being a citizen of such a Union. You know what makes me proud? Greeks.

A people that have been hit by recession in every possible aspect, people’s lives have been influenced in non imaginable ways. Low salaries, a promising government that, as expected, betrayed the Greek people and a general spirit of stagnation prevail in the Greek society. However the Greeks have done it yet again. Humanity, heart and soul, that is what makes the difference for the Greeks. No matter how much they struggle day by day, they decided to actually help people, offer them a place to stay, a bite to eat.

Greek grandmothers taking care of an infant while the baby’s mother took a break.

Greece is the country that since early 2015 has accepted of approximately 2,0 million refugees from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Africa. When countries that are considered to be ‘post civilized’ with growing economies shut down their borders and reject people, troubled Greece is the one that is, whether you like it or not, rising above. I am proud of being Greek, not just because of the history and the elements that the ancient Greeks offered to the world, but because I see people of different backgrounds and generations helping the ones in need. Maybe the conditions in the camps that host the refugees are not ideal, but I wonder how could the media all over the world focus on that? That is such a shallow approach to the entire issue, according to my modest opinion. I think everybody should emphasize on the real issue and come up with a plan that its enforcement could pay dividends and combine everybody’s involvement. The refugee crisis is a matter that should concern everyone, because as stated before, you should treat people the way you would like to be treated if you were in their shoes.