Is the tide in Germany turning against Turkey? It certainly seems to be. A poll today shows a majority of Germans favour ending the refugee deal agreed between the EU and Turkey back in March. The agreement has helped stem the flow of migrants flooding into Europe, making a repeat of the 1.1m people who arrived in Germany last year unlikely. But the deal came at a price: Turkey won a renewal of aid, the prospect of visa free travel for its people across Europe and the biggest prize of all – ‘re-energized’ EU membership talks. Yet for all the bluster talked about the EU deal, it seems that many Germans are not happy with it and want it to end. A poll published in German newspaper Bild revealed that 52 per cent are keen for the migrant deal to be scrapped; only a third said they hoped it would stay in place. What’s more, when it comes to the broader question of whether aid should be halted, Germans were even more unanimous (two thirds thought it should be). And on the topic of EU accession talks, a similar number of those surveyed by Bild wanted the dialogue to end immediately.
Angela Merkel is, for now, standing firm: the German chancellor’s key adviser Peter Altmaier said last week there is ‘no reason for a Plan B’. But German public opinion isn’t the only factor suggesting that view might be optimistic. Aside from the prospect of Germans turning against the deal, the agreement already looks to be in trouble. Turkey’s Mevlut Cavusoglu has repeatedly warned the country would back out if visa-free travel wasn’t forthcoming. And increasingly, the country’s President Recep Erdogan is gazing eastwards. Erdogan travelled to Russia today to renew relations with his ‘friend’ President Putin. His reward for cosying up to Russia? A Putin promise that economic co-operation would be restored. Already it seems the EU and Turkey are drifting further apart. And the list of those who will mourn a breakdown of March’s deal appears to be dwindling rapidly.