Germany

Geopolitical Developments

The visit of the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to Russia caused plenty of unrest in German politics. Especially the CDU and CSU politicians criticized the meeting of Tsipras with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "The visit of Prime Minister Tsipras to Moscow is a threatening gesture," said the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, Elmar Brok (CDU); "He wants to show that Greece could be different." The chairman of the European Affairs Committee of the Bundestag, Gunther Krichbaum (CDU), criticized Tsipras' Moscow visit even more sharply, saying, “whoever wants to receive help from the European Union, their compass must point in the direction of Brussels, not Moscow.” He added, “Russia had violated international law with its actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine and continues to violate." Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Söder (CSU) and CSU MEP Markus Ferber warned Greece against special paths in relation to Russia. The German Greens want to put Greece under pressure because of its rapprochement towards Russia. Rebecca Harms, President of the European Greens in the European Parliament, said she thought it was a big mistake "that the new Greek government sent a signal that it could also imagine a course that is geared more towards Moscow than towards Brussels. Tsipras set with his visit a clearly pro-Russian and a clearly anti-European mood.” Both the government parties CDU / CSU and the opposition Greens are strongly committed to the transatlantic alliance.

Internal Politics

Last year, the most illegal immigrants arrived in Germany since the early 1990s. Most of them apply for asylum after their arrival: a total of 202,834 asylum applications were submitted – about 60 percent more than in the previous year. One in five asylum seekers in 2014 came from Syria. The numbers continued to rise in the first three months of this year. Also, many asylum seekers came from the Balkan States. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees estimates a total of 300,000 asylum seekers by the end of the year. The number of asylum applications from Albania alone rose by more than 526 percent in comparison to the previous year. Other prevalent countries of origin were Eritrea (13,253), Afghanistan (9,673), Iran (9,499) and Somalia (5,685). Approximately every fourth application for asylum was granted. A total of 33,310 people were granted refugee status by the German authorities. The previous high was reached in 1992 with 438,191 asylum applications.

Christianity

The former deputy editor in Chief of the Bild am Sonntag newspaper (Springer Verlag), Nicolaus Fest, has sharply criticized the "Islamization" of Europe in an interview with the liberal weekly newspaper Junge Freiheit, thus causing a scandal. The self-proclaimed atheist Fest sees especially Islam as a threat to individual human rights. In the interview he said: "Islam is a threat to everything our community stands for: liberties, individualism, and equality." However, attacks on any conservative Christian social model with the same reasoning go unnoticed by both the churches and the established politicians in Germany.

Family and Bioethics

In Freiburg, about 50 supporters of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) demonstrated against abortion which led to scuffles with about 200 mostly left and liberal abortion advocates. They tried to prevent the Catholic pro-lifers with a sit-in. In addition, blasphemous slogans were chanted by the abortion advocates. In Germany, there are regular attacks by the left and liberals on Christian abortion opponents who want to exercise their right to demonstrate.