Nationalist party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is floating the idea of erecting a 19-foot high fence to stop refugees from entering the country.
AfD leader Joerg Meuthen brought up his fence idea during a rally in Baden-Wuerttemberg, one of three states that will elect new regional parliaments Sunday. Meuthen mentioned several examples where fences work, particularly in Spain, where it forces North African migrants to take a long detour to get to Europe.
“They have to go around the Mediterranean” to find a way in, Meuthen said, according to news agency AFP. “Yes, fences have an impact.”
Meuthen said his fence proposal is “not out of pleasure, but it’s necessary” because of the refugee influx of 1.1 million in 2015.
Meuthen’s words were backed up by a report from Munich-based think tank IFO Institute Thursday. IFO estimates it would cost Germany $5.6 billion per year to proportionally contribute to the closing of Europe’s external borders. The total cost of the refugee crisis will be $22 billion per year in Germany until migrants are fully settled.
Examples from across Europe in recent months show fences successfully halt an influx. When Hungary put up a fence along its border with Croatia in October, the daily influx went from peaking at 10,000 to just 41. Macedonia claims no refugees have entered the country from Greece since Monday, when the last part of the border was sealed. (RELATED: Hungary’s Trump-Style Fence Keeps Refugees Out)
AfD has gone from almost insignificant a year ago to Germany’s third largest party — 11 percent of voters saying they would vote for AfD if there was an election today. One-third of Germans find AfD electable, according to the same poll. The success is likely a response to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-border policy in relation refugees.
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