In 2015, Angela #Merkel went against the anti-refugee sentiment prevailing across Europe by declaring the phrase "we will manage" ("Wir schaffen das"). This was in response to the arrival of an indefinite number of refugees from #Syria, #Afghanistan, and #Iraq. The decision to open the borders to displaced people was termed "ethical" rather than giving a “political" semantic. Nevertheless, it faced much opposition from within and outside the country and even from Merkel's political party and supporters.
She was harshly criticised for her policy in Europe. Still, recent studies show that Merkel's policy had a significant impact on how the #EU managed the arrival of #refugees. When the policy was adopted, thousands of #asylumseekers were already going to Europe. #Germany received over one million first-time asylum applications in 2015 and 2016 alone, well above the total European rate despite the backlash.
Additionally, Germany instilled a 'welcome culture' including many opportunities to introduce the newcomers to the country's culture. Though this was a step on the right path, even today, refugees are more likely to obtain low-income jobs despite their qualifications.
Therefore, we must all collectively strive to denounce the rise of far-right/extremist/xenophobic attitudes that hinder refugees from receiving fair, dignified treatment. In Germany, the remaining challenges now are ensuring the unbiased integration of refugees into the labour market, their early introduction into the health care system, both physical and mental, and the elimination of gender, racial, and religious discrimination.
The reception of Ukrainian refugees into the country also calls for vigilance toward the racial and religious prejudices that favour the white European population over refugees and asylum seekers from other countries. At Rethinking Refugees, we believe that people from all nations should receive protection and empathy. Therefore, governments should take decisive steps toward creating humane refugee policies.