Migration Issues. The views of the major German political parties

In 2015 the EU encountered the largest-scale refugee crisis since World War II. Germany took the brunt of it. These events marked a watershed line for German society, which is still in place today.

RISS experts Vyacheslav Kalinkin and Alexey Opilkin explain how the migration issue affects German politics and discuss the views of the major German political parties regarding the issue.


  • Immigration is among the key issues driving the elections in Germany. More than 50 % of German voters say the migration problem is very important to them in making their decision about who to vote.

  • Germany has radically changed its immigration policy since 2015. Angela Merkel's open-door policy on refugees was questioned by the public and political parties after more than one million people sought asylum in the country. If before 2015 people in Germany believed migrants to leave Germany eventually, after 2015 this confidence vanished.

  • Most parties, with the noticeable exception of the Left, reject an open-door policy on refugees. Germany's anti-immigrant party Alternative for Germany (AfD) stands for tough immigration rules. CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, are more immigrant-friendly, but also became less hospitable to migrants and refugees than in 2015. The Greens advocates an open multicultural German society, though without excluding deportations as a last resort.

  • The future coalition agreement will definitely contain an immigration section, but the provisions will be apparently the compromise. The real immigration policy is highly likely to be seen in a new refugee crisis.
RISS Alexey Opilkin Immigration Vyacheslav Kalinkin Germany elections