This year’s mantra is: the number of newcomers is decreasing and the situation is under control. Especially the actions of special services in Germany, who prevented another terrorist attack on 13th of September has been celebrated by the media. At this point the papers focus mainly on calling on for new steps that should follow the open doors policy. Merkel’s opponents point out the mistake she made, that being a poor handling of negotiations with countries such as Hungary. “Merkel has made a conscious mistake. (…) She has overseen to make our European partners equally accountable.” Western European countries and their representatives, such as Jean Claude Juncker, show their disappointment by dropping sentences such as “Hungary should be excluded from the EU” here and there. On the other hand, after Bratislava summit, where, according to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, some compromises have been made. This refers to Schulz’s and Merkel’s agreement to discuss with the Visegrad Group countries other ways of practicing solidarity rather than sharing refugees. Interestingly, the same summit (from which UK has been excluded due to Brexit), has been summarized by the Daily Telegraph as proving “a fragile façade”. Apparently, mainstream German media tries to be far more optimistic when it comes to talking about Europe.
In general, the topic of the future of Germany and EU is kept in bright colors and supported by concerned voices pointing out the areas that need to be taken care of. The 8th edition of the conference “Denk ich an Deutschland”, organized by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft, was held on 23rd of September in Berlin. It was supposed to be a forum for discussion about Germany, it’s chances, threats and a vision for the future. The theme was “Haben wir’s geschafft?”. Therefore it was a place, where all the fears and hopes were discussed and different viewpoints were given a chance to shine. The stage host representatives of different political parties: CDU, SPD, AfD, Die Linke, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, but also the president and the Federal Constitutional Court.
What the fears are, the Germans have already made clear: according to 77 % of them, in 2016 the danger of radical islam in Germany has been blown up high and the number of those fearing more bombs oscillates around 73 %. On the other hand, Germans see chances of refugees’ integration into society quite optimistically. 71% perceive them as good or somewhat good, meanwhile 21 % is skeptical.
The politicians of all parties met on stage at 10:25 for Panel No. 1 and discussed the chances and limits of dieWilkommenskultur (the Culture of Welcomeness) that has become a major characteristic of Germany and Germans. And as if by default, the person chosen to moderate discussion was Ali Aslan, German TV presenter of Turkish origins (born into a Gastarbeiter family). AfD politicians will have to swallow the fact, that their host is a perfect example of integration and CDU’s refute allegiations that he’s only an exception. Despite the fact, that the panel is being organized in such a playful manner and the whole party being thrown by Das internationale Forum der Deutschen Bank – mbH, a project with ties to the biggest fishes in the banking tank, it would be extremely careless not to listen to what is being said on that stage.
To interested readers an opportunity has been given to cast an eye on 2 pre- conference publications. “Wir schaffen das! Ein positives Szenario”- is the title of the first one. The other, concentrates on the possible negative outcomes of today’s situation.
To summarize both, positive thinking leads us to year 2025 and the vision of fully integrated newcomers, who found piece with Germany’s aging society despite new bombing in 2017. Positive vision contains a picture of newly elected Bundestag with over 15 % of seats belonging to rightwing extremists. But strong third sector and civil society would oppose the atmosphere of terror and claustrophobia and press the government to work on new integration and migration policies. 2018 would welcome us to the new era of solutions for newcomers trying to find jobs on an extremely unfriendly German market and face clear rules of cohabitation. It goes, as says the leaflet, hand in hand with new dedicated IT solutions and modernization. Brexit would serve as a tightening factor for the EU’s 27 countries, who would agree to cede the division of the refugees onto the local level. This solution should, as a side effect, blow up ghettos from inside and spread the refugees across the land.
The combination of abovementioned factors and events inevitably leads the pessimistic (or realistic) reader to the conclusion that something must go wrong. And this something will not be in year 2025, but will appear on the first page of our daily newspaper in the days to come. The big fat font will announce: ‘Brexit led to EU’s fall’ or ‘Putin cheering the decay of liberal democracies in Europe’ or ‘National states on the rise’. All such titles will only bring us closer to the sad statement, that ‘we haven’t made it’.
The “negative” publication doesn’t start with dark views of how Europe sinks in conflicts and separatisms, but points out, where it all can start. The beginning of the end would be the refusal of other European countries to cooperate with Germany in battling the refugee crisis. At this point we should probably realize that Germans no longer feel that they owe others, quite the contrary. And they are winning supporters for their case: “Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, has fiercely criticized middle- eastern European countries for their stand on the refugee crisis”. The Visegrad Group (Hungary, Polen, Czech Republik and Slovakia) has become a concern-case for Germany, for it opposes the idea of solidarity and undermines the basis for liberal democracies, while receiving extraordinary help from it.
Following the publication, the problem grows, since countries can’t find a way to communicate and create a new FRONTEX that will prevent new ghettos and ‘parallel- societies’. Border problems and communication obstacles between European countries led to the growth of populist parties in Germany and media has been drowned in the flood of heated emotional discussions with no place for mutual understanding. This stood in a way for creating new laws and pushed refugees deeper into bureaucratic procedures, blocking them the entrance to the better world they have under their noses. As we can see, all this sounds like a big mess that could lead us to some serious problems.
What we know now is the fact, that German politicians and policy makers are currently fighting several fronts at the same time. They are trying to build new, adequate laws and protect the country from terrorism. Meanwhile, they are trying to create new deals with other European countries, be this Poland and Hungary on one side (solidarity and refugee crisis), or France and Belgium (strengthening the EU, creating new FRONTEX, European army project) on the other. All this while the world around is undergoing new changes, caused by Russian Duma elections or US upcoming presidential ones. What we might witness, could be a mix of what has been written in both pre-conference publications. That be the case, we better hope the mixture’s not explosive.
 M. Sattar, M. Wyssuwa, “Merkel hat verpasst, die EU in die Pflicht zu nehmen”, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 9.09.2016, Nr. 211/36 R1.
 H. Kafsack, M. Stabenow, Alle Wege führen nach Rom, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 17.09.2016, Nr. 218/37 R1.
 P. Foster, Bratislava summit: Europe’s ‚united front’ proves a fragile facade as leaders refuse to share a stage, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/16/eu-bratislava-summit-donald-tusk-calls-for-sober-and-brutally-ho1/, 23.09.2016.
 Have we made it? as a paraphrase of Angela Merkel’s ‘Wir schaffen das’: ‘We can make it’.
 Basis: Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bevölkerung ab 16 Jahre. Quelle: Allensbach / F.A.Z.-Grafik Niebe
 Stephan Löwenstein, Kaum justitiabel, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 16.09.2016, Nr. 217/37 R1.
 DEUTSCHLAND 2025- Haben wir’s geschafft? Ein negatives Szenario. Die große Abschottung, https://www.alfred-herrhausen-gesellschaft.de/_trash/DiaD_negatives_Szenario_A4_2016_08_23.pdf, 22.09.2016.