Ying Zang is a Master of Public Policy student in UCD. This blog was written for POL40160 Comparative Public Policy. The best blogs from this module were selected to enable talented graduate students in UCD to contribute to ongoing debates about contemporary policy issues affecting European societies.
Ever since the Syrian refugee crisis erupted in the summer of 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door stance on refugees has been controversial, not only internationally but also domestically. At first, Germans gathered at train stations to welcome refugees arriving in their cities as if they were long-lost friends. Refugees were greeted with rounds of applause and songs, as well as sweets, pastries, and toys, on station platforms across the country. Germany stopped enforcing the EU’s ‘Dublin’ rules, under which asylum seekers should register in the first member state they arrive in: Merkel made her dramatic declaration that any Syrian who reaches the country could claim asylum in Germany. Merkel also appealed for a common action of EU member states to cope with the crisis. She has said that EU states ‘must share the responsibility for refugees seeking asylum…. If Europe fails on the question of refugees, this close connection with universal civil rights … it won’t be the Europe we want.’ She pressed for quotas to spread asylum-seekers out among more countries in the 28-nation grouping.