Mass Migration: German Political Parties’ responses to the refugee question

  • Luise Goldi Schöneberg german
Keywords: parties, migration, refugees, vote, theory, public opinion, media, law


What was the response of Germany’s political parties to the refugee question? I am to study this question by providing an overview and evaluation of the political statements and tactics of German political parties on the refugee issue during, and after, the German election campaign of 2017. This analysis is based on the political statements of the parties in their own publications (e.g. political programs) and in the general media (press, internet etc.) as well as on the critical echo in the public. I will also discuss the legal framework surrounding the refugee crisis, in order to better understand the varied responses to its administration. My analytical framework is inspired by the German sociologist Max Weber who distinguished between ethical approaches in politics: (1) an “ethics of moral conviction,” which means to take an ethical principle as an absolute command (e.g. to help refugees regardless of any adverse political consequences this might have); and (2) an “ethics of responsibility,” which means to weigh a given ethical principle against its adverse consequences (e.g. social tensions) with an effort to find a compromise.