The division between the Eastern and Western countries has repeatedly ignited over the question of how to deal with the large number of migrants travelling to Europe from different directions. A repetition of the summer of 2015, when Germany temporarily left its borders open in order to cope with the situation, is now being attempted by all sides. There are various measures to this end, such as tighter control of the EU’s external borders, including the Mediterranean, agreements with countries like Turkey, and also development aid.
Even though no satisfactory solution to the problem of the distribution of these migrants is yet in sight, this should not be the decisive issue in the course of this decade. The economic problems within the Eurozone will weigh too heavily for that, and here the role of Germany will be decisive.
While in the course of the refugee crisis it was often seen as the western country of Europe, in the future, also as a result of the Brexit, its northern or central location is likely to be the decisive factor. In terms of economic policy, Germany is in a group with states such as the Netherlands and the Scandinavian nations, which are increasingly coming into confrontation with the states of Southern Europe with France as their patron.
The introduction of the so-called “Coronabonds”, whereby the direct connection with the Corona pandemic is not apparent in the distribution of the money, has already led to major disputes within the EU. However, with all the aid money that has been paid periodically for a decade now, no substantial improvement of the economies of Southern Europe can be observed. In the long run, this policy cannot be maintained without leading to considerable distortions and mutual mistrust.
When Germany in particular will change its position here will shape EU policy in the following decade.