The European Council has expressed concern over the rise of racism in Germany in a report published on Thursday, pointing to last winter’s Pegida protests, although the country has publicly welcomed migrants in the past few weeks. “We are concerned with the dramatic change in the situation with regards to public manifestations of racism and xenophobia,” highlights the report produced by the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of the European Council and covering the period between 2010 to early 2015.
According to the document, “anti-Semitism, anti-Gypsyism, and Islamophobia are on the rise, as are attacks on refugees.” The report refers to protest marches organised by Pegida (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the Occident) held every Monday last winter.
The authors highlight the “feeling of insecurity for Muslims, immigrants or minorities” resulting from these protests and recalls the “horrendous and fatal knife attack on an Eritrean in Dresden during the evening following one the marches.” Whilst taking note of the counter-protests against Pegida, they believe “sustained efforts are still needed to foster a climate of tolerance and intercultural dialogue” in Germany.
These conclusions are in sharp contrast with pictures showing early September scenes of refugees being warmly welcomed in German train stations, often to great applause. According to various polls, over 60% of Germans are currently in favour of their country accepting refugees.