But politicians respond with only silence
Over the last decade, Germans have greeted New Year’s Eve with more and more trepidation. On what is meant to be a day of celebration, in Germany it shines a light on something much uglier: the country’s failed migration and integration policies.
This year, violence against police and firefighters, especially in Berlin and other cities, broke out. Unfortunately, the German government is attempting to deflect from the uncomfortable truth that non-integrated migrants and asylum seekers tend to be at the centre of these incidents. This was exemplified by the reporting of one of the largest public broadcasters and the German Police Union who claimed that it is “difficult to talk about perpetrators because these are group dynamic processes as a consequence of the pandemic” — carefully avoiding any mention of the demographic groups involved.
The interior minister of the state of Lower Saxony suspected Right-wing extremists were behind the attacks, and the SPD’s Federal Minister for Health, Karl Lauterbach, tweeted (before deleting) that those who participated should be evicted from their homes.
But let’s take a look at the evidence. Out of 145 arrests, 45 people had German citizenship, while 27 were from Afghanistan, 21 from Syria, and the remaining number from 15 additional countries. One should always be careful with generalisations but, at least since the mass sexual assaults of New Year’s Eve 2015 in several major German cities, it should be clear that the integration particularly of young men — many either traumatised or socialised in explicitly anti-Western environments — continues to be a failure.
Trapped in an ideological web of their own making, no party in Germany wishes to mention, let alone address, the problem. In fact, it is only parties on the fringes – both Left and Right – that have spoken out.
This problem is only likely to get worse with the Ukraine war raging on. While most Europeans have been sympathetic to Ukrainian refugees — so far predominantly women and children — there are no preparations being made for the day when war-traumatised husbands and fathers will follow their families, many of whom have no intention to go back to Ukraine. More than 25% of the current 1.02 million Ukrainian refugees want to stay in Germany after the war, which will in many cases include the application of Berlin’s generous family reunification programmes.
Even Poland, which has been a staunch supporter of Kiev and mobilised massive public support for aiding and housing refugees, is reaching the limits of what it can do. The expectation of the many civilian helpers was that this would be a short conflict and that by the end of the year most Ukrainians would return home, but the longer the war carries on, the less likely that scenario is becoming — and public support is dropping accordingly.
In the current media climate, it is very difficult to point to these difficult truths. But the omertà on the issue is preventing the necessary steps from being taken to alleviate current shortcomings in the areas of integration, and to formulate policies that would prevent the situation from getting worse.
Most likely the problem will now be swept under the rug. Until, sadly just as likely, New Year’s Eve 2023.