Germany is preparing for key local elections which will take place this Sunday. And the results are expected to be challenging for the Chancellor, Angela Merkel who has lost significant popularity of late over her open-door migrant policy.
Meanwhile right-wing parties are gaining support with the populist Alternative for Germany party currently doing well in the polls.
RT: What is the chance for rightist party to get a high percentage of votes in the upcoming elections?
Dr. Rainer Rothfuss: Recent polls have shown that the Alternative for Germany (AfD) is going to win about 10 to up to 20 percent of the votes in the three states that are going to have elections on March 13.
RT: The right and even far-right are enjoying public attention and popularity. Why did this happen?
RR: We can see a certain connection between the recent developments in immigration policy of the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel, and there is certain dissatisfaction among the population that shows that this increases the tendency to vote for right-wing parties in Germany.
RT: What can be the consequences of such popularity of right and even far-right movements?
RR: People hope that the lack of a concept for an immigration policy towards Europe will change when further parties come into the political arena and they probably expect that the politics of open borders will change, but the question is whether this will really help to improve the situation.
Because with fences and with police forces we cannot change the immigration trends that we are currently seeing and, therefore, we would need different political answers than those that right-wing parties offer.
We need a changed policy in the Middle East because the Western countries still tend to support Islamist terrorist groups in the Syrian conflict in the negotiations that are going to be restarted in Geneva.
For example, the German government supports the high negotiation committee which has been built up by Saudi Arabia to make sure its interests are being pursued in the Syrian negotiations. And therefore I see that right-wing parties will not do anything good to change the immigration policy because the problems have to be solved at the origin, at the roots.
RT: Could you please point out 2 or 3 main mistakes of the current leadership in terms of the migration policy?
RR: The main problem as that the governments of Europe and above all Germany did not have any clue that the immigration wave was coming in 2015 and this is a great mistake because it was clear that the Syrian conflict had created great movements of refugees to the neighboring countries and it was also obvious that the situation in the refugee camps was bad and still deteriorating in mid-2015. It was not wise not to have any concept of how to support people in their countries of origin.
Number two, I am sure that the immigration deals that are going to be made with Turkey in the near future – that Chancellor Merkel is also pursuing – will not improve the situation because Europe is selling out its values to a counterpart Turkey, a country under the government of Erdogan, which does not respect human rights properly and we will always stay in a weak position towards Turkey, they will always be able to use the weapon of mass migration, as Kelly Greenhill from Tufts University has put it scholarly in her book [‘Weapons of Mass Migration: Forced Displacement, Coercion and Foreign Policy’, Cornell Studies in Security Affairs].
Therefore, we need different concepts: we need a pacification of the Middle East, we need to build up those countries again and this would solve the problem.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT, nor those of Human Wrongs Watch.