Does Merkel have a plan against terror?
German Chancellor Angela Merkel made it clear at a press conference that she will stick to her open-door refugee policy. In response to the attacks of the last two weeks she presented a nine-point plan against terror. Some commentators praise Merkel's stance as courageous and reassuring. Others criticise her obvious lack of a plan.
German coolness better than French flurry
Berlin's prudence in the face of the recent terrorist acts is more appropriate than Paris's alarmism argues Le Temps.
“The Chancellor's performance was both courageous and reassuring. Germany is standing up well to this first terrorism stress test - to risk a comparison with the world of finance - in the age of global jihad. ...The development in the debate in France, which has been hit much harder, is revealing a serious risk that the county is sliding into a state of emergency in which we face the criminals with alarmism, emotion and hatred instead of decisive and rationally-driven actions. To talk about civil war, as a number of far-right voices are doing, is dangerous. That is precisely what the terrorists are aiming for.”
Merkel's helpless attempt to restore calm
Right now all the German chancellor can do is wait and hope that Germany calms down again soon, Der Standard comments:
“It sounds like singing in the face of fear and helplessness. Naturally Merkel is not personally responsible for all the terrible things that happen in Germany - not even for crimes carried out by refugees. But unfortunately many people who are afraid and angry take a different view. And Merkel also knows that she can't do anything concrete right now. There is no adjustable screw that can be turned and there never will be - no matter what the populists would have us believe. For the time being the German chancellor has no choice but to carry on as before, to boost police presence and to hope that after the dreadful crimes that have now been committed in Germany things will settle down again.”
Still no start signal
Merkel's performance was yet another demonstration of the tangible contrast between the agitation in the country and the style of the Chancellor, writes the Frankfurter Rundschau:
“Her objectivity, which sometimes borders on robotic, has moved further away from reality. The country senses that it is no longer enough to 'develop' a security law here and tighten asylum regulations there (Merkel read out a whole list of them) so that everything can simply carry on as before. Germany has had a rude awakening but the Chancellor is still singing her lullabies. And that is her failing. This moment of terror-induced fear would have been the occasion to replace the calming words associated with the 'business as usual' approach with a start signal. ... It would also have been appropriate not merely to mention that the nation needs to pull together to prevent conflict and promote integration, but to make this the focus of the speech.”
Countering the logic of fear
Merkel has also sent a clear message to Europe, La Repubblica comments:
“With her message Merkel was also explicitly addressing Europe and its leaders. After the Brexit referendum and against a background of thinly veiled xenophobia, the political crisis and the crisis of values have reached the point where compromise is no longer an option. Certain principles are non-negotiable in democracy, Merkel said. While on its outer borders Europe's neighbours, Russia and Turkey, are heading in a worryingly anti-democratic direction, Europe cannot afford to make any more concessions to the logic of fear within its borders. This logic is fuelled by the populists. And the governments that pursue these fabricated fears, from Poland to Hungary and the Czech Republic, can no longer rest in the belief that other European capitals will show understanding for their stance.”