German authorities are seeking to stem the flow of refugees without jeopardizing the European Union’s open borders. As domestic public opinion shifts and political pressures grow, Europe’s largest economy, which benefits greatly from the bloc’s free movement of people and goods, is designing a strategy to reduce the number of refugees without undermining the basic foundations of the European Union.
The German public has become warier of immigration. In 2013, according to a Eurobarometer study, only 14 percent of Germans ranked immigration as one of the top two concerns facing their country. In May 2015, however, this increased to 45 percent. In addition, 54 percent of Germans had a negative attitude toward immigration from outside of the European Union, and 85 percent believed that additional measures should be taken to fight illegal immigration.
As the number of refugees moving to Europe spiked in mid-2015 and German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a decision in August to welcome
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