September 2015. Thousands of Syrian migrants crossing the Balkan route were heading toward Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel was on the phone with Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, talking about a number of measures to protect the borders, where thousands of policemen were secretly located along with buses and helicopters. De Maizière turned for advice to Dieter Romann, then head of the police. “Can we live with the images that will come out?” de Mazière asked. “What happens if 500 refugees with children in their arms run toward the border guards?”
De Maiziére was told that the appropriate use of the measures to be taken would have be decided by the police on the field. When de Maizière relayed Romann’s response to the Chancellor, Merkel reversed her original commitment. And the borders were opened for 180 days.
“For historical reasons, the Chancellor feared images of armed German police confronting civilians on our borders,” writes Robin Alexander, Die Welt’s leading journalist, who revealed these details in a new book, Die Getriebenen (“The Driven Ones”). Alexander reveals the real reason that pushed Merkel to open the door to a million and a half migrants in a few weeks: “In the end, Merkel refused to take responsibility, governing through the polls.” This is how the famous Merkel’s motto “Wir schaffen das” was born: “We can do it.”
According to Die Zeit:
“Merkel and her people are convinced that the marchers could only be stopped with the help of violence: with water cannons, truncheons and pepper spray. It would be chaotic and the images would be horrific. Merkel is extremely wary of such images and of their political impact, and she is convinced that Germany wouldn’t tolerate them. Merkel once said that Germany wouldn’t be able to stand the images from the dismal conditions in the refugee camp at Calais for more than three days. But how much more devastating would images be of refugees being beaten as they try to get to Austria or Germany?”
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