A bimonthly magazine on international affairs, edited in Germany's capital

One Crisis among Many


Paris views the refugee crisis through a different lens than Berlin. It only reluctantly accepted it as a European – rather than a German – problem and feels it is doing enough on other fronts to address it.


© REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

While the refugee crisis has been shaping German politics for a year now and making considerable demands on the country’s social and political forces, it seems to have had little effect on France, Germany’s closest European partner. It is important to note that the situation is not the same on both sides of the Rhine, though: only 70,600 applications for asylum were filed in France in 2015, compared to 441,800 in Germany, according to Eurostat; and while the number of asylum seekers did increase in France in 2015, it was only by 20 percent compared with the previous year.

This factual asymmetry is coupled with an asymmetry in the way the crisis is perceived, giving rise to considerable differences in interpretation. This is reflected in the vocabulary of public debate: rather than the “refugee crisis” discussed in Germany, the French tend to speak of a “migration crisis” or a “migrant crisis.” …

Read more in the Berlin Policy Journal App – May/June 2016 issue.