But it is not just Merkel’s political party that is suffering from her decision no longer to police German borders. It is a costly exercise to allow vast numbers of poorly qualified migrants into the country. In December last year, the Kiel Institute for the World Economy estimated the annual costs of integrating Germany’s migrants to be up to €55bn.
Meanwhile, economist Bernd Raffelhüschen, Germany’s leading expert on generational accounting, calculated that integrating one million refugees would result in a total cost of €450bn.
However, that may be too optimistic on two counts. First, Germany has already received more than 1.1 million newcomers last year alone and more are coming. And second, Raffelhüschen assumed it would only take six years until new arrivals reached a qualification level comparable to previous migrants already in the country. If only.
The most extreme estimate for the costs of integrating is Thilo Sarrazin’s. The former finance minister in the state of Berlin, former Bundesbank director and outspoken book author believes the lifetime costs, including family reunions, could reach EUR 1.5 trillion.
No matter what the real figure will be in the end, one thing is certain: The long-term costs of Merkel’s policy are only comparable with historic events such as Germany’s unification or the devastations caused by wars. And these are just the pecuniary costs of absorbing poorly qualified migrants. That there are social, cultural and political as well as economic and fiscal costs is plain to see.
With her policies, Merkel has also isolated Germany in Europe, as I already explained last week. Never before has post-War Germany had fewer friends and allies than in these days.
Finally, by ignoring international treaties, conventions and domestic constitutional law, Merkel has damaged trust in political institutions and the rule of law. Two former justices of Germany’s Constitutional Court, Udo di Fabio and Hans-Jürgen Papier, have now publicly condemned her policies as illegal. Papier, a former president of the court, went so far to say that “never before has there been such a discrepancy between the law and reality”.
During her tenure as Chancellor, Merkel has been responsible for a number of costly policy mistakes, chief among them the decision to switch off nuclear power stations after Fukushima and the establishment of costly bailout and guarantee schemes during the euro crisis. Each of them has burdened taxpayers with hundreds of billions of costs and implicit liabilities.
With her actions during the refugee crisis, Merkel is dwarfing even these previous policy blunders. If one were to add up all her mistakes, they can now be counted in the trillions. Again, these are just the monetary costs. In committing her mistakes, Merkel has also damaged her country’s reputation, its integration into the European Union, the European Union as an institution, the rule of law, as well as political stability in Germany and its neighbours.
With such a record, any Chancellor should have resigned a long time ago — or be kicked out by voters or at least her own party. That Merkel still clings on to power only shows how successfully she had previously purged her party of any potential rivals.
No matter how long Merkel still manages to stay in office, she will go down in history as the worst chancellor post-war Germany has ever had. The sooner she goes the better.