The German press is struggling with an internal conflict. From a historical perspective, they are not allowed to glorify anything resembling the far right, but most onlookers agree that although there were indeed Neo-Nazi protesters present in Chemnitz, the largest part of the thousands that marched to show their disagreement with Germany’s current immigration policy were law abiding, mostly older, Germans.
Some are now starting to let the other side do the talking too. Even though interviews with anyone from Pegida or AfD are still seen as agreeing with their policies, one of the first newspapers to break rank was Die Welt, who asked the Italian rightwing Interior Minister Mr Matteo Salvini to give his views on what was going on in Europe’s biggest economy, which has been rocked by anti-immigration protests for weeks on end.
Die Welt: You've seen what's been happening in Chemnitz. Some are blaming Angela Merkel, saying that this is the result of the migration crisis. Do you agree?
Mr Salvini: “I would say that Angela Merkel certainly underestimated the risk of a social clash when she claimed that there was space for hundreds of thousands of people in Germany.”
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Matteo Salvini responds to Emmanuel Macron: "He's at his lowest historical level of popularity in France. Attacking me isn't a good idea for him." <a href="https://t.co/1LW53xhvfn">pic.twitter.com/1LW53xhvfn</a></p>— Alana Mastrangelo (@ARmastrangelo) <a href="https://twitter.com/ARmastrangelo/status/1036693661273280512?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 3, 2018</a></blockquote>
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“I still remember what happened during the New Year's Eve celebrations in Cologne in 2015, and also elsewhere. However, violence is never a solution! Violence calls for violence, but the German government has been underestimating the problem for years, and the rise of the AfD is clearly a reaction.”
Related coverage: <a href="http://thegoldwater.com/news/35840-German-Press-Admits-Majority-On-The-Streets-Symphatized-With-The-Right-Wing-Demonstrators"> German Press Admits: ‘Majority On The Streets Symphatized With The Right-Wing Demonstrators’</a>.
The AfD has been heading for record highs in the polls and according to the latest estimates, they are reading to overtake the leftwing SPD (who rules in coalition with Ms Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU as the second party) as Germany’s second biggest political group. This would mean Ms Merkel does not have a mathematical majority to govern anymore.
Die Welt: “On the issue of migration, you recently agreed to form an alliance with Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban. What is your aim with this?”
Mr Salvini: “I'm trying to get something good out of everybody. Victor Orban talks about defending Europe's borders, about protection in the countries of origin and investment in Africa, and I agree with him. Angela Merkel is proposing a redistribution inside Europe, and I can agree even with this position in the very near future.”
“What we have to do is help these people so that they don't flee their countries. We should be rapidly investing 500 million euros in Africa. I believe that both Germany and Hungary are right regarding certain issues.”
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