Jun 18, 2018

With Merkel under pressure on immigration, Trump piles on

German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel bought herself two weeks to reach a deal with other European countries on immigration, after demands from Interior Minister Horst Seehofer that migrants who have been registered as asylum-seekers in other countries be turned away had her coalition on the brink of collapse.

Across the pond: President Trump tweeted, "The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition... Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!"

Trump faces his own migrant crisis. The blowback to policies that have resulted in the separation of migrant families has been enormous. Trump seems to be suggesting with these tweets that the alternative to strict border enforcement is chaos.

  • Merkel's open door policy toward refugees, which she has since backed off somewhat, won plaudits abroad but also contributed to the rise of the far right and piled pressure on the center-right ruling parties.
  • The Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party to Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, has taken an increasingly hard line on immigration to fend off a challenge from the far-right Alternative for Germany party ahead of Bavaria's elections this October, according to the AP.
  • By the numbers: Germany's Office of Migrants and Refugees (BAMF) registered 186,644 asylum seekers in 2017, down from 890,000 asylum seekers in 2015 — when the migrant crisis was at its peak.

Be smart: Trump's approval ratings in Germany are around 11%, so don't expect his criticism to be damaging to Merkel.

Go deeper

Inside hackers' pivot to medical espionage

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A wave of cyber-spying around COVID-19 medical research is once more demonstrating the perils of treating cybersecurity as a separate, walled-off realm.

Driving the news: U.S. officials recently announced an uptick in Chinese-government affiliated hackers targeting medical research and other facilities in the United States for data on a potential COVID-19 cure or effective treatments to combat the virus. Additionally, “more than a dozen countries have redeployed military and intelligence hackers to glean whatever they can about other nations’ virus responses,” reports the New York Times.

The downsides of remote work

Data: Reproduced from Prudential/Morning Consult "Pulse of the American Worker Survey"; Chart: Axios Visuals

The coronavirus pandemic has forced a large-scale experiment in working from home. It has gone well enough that many companies are expanding their remote work expectations for the foreseeable future, and remote employees want to continue to work that way.

Yes, but: The downsides of remote work — less casual interaction with colleagues, an over-reliance on Zoom, lack of in-person collaboration and longer hours — could over time diminish the short-term gains.

Hong Kong's economic future hangs in the balance

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As Beijing forces a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong, the once semi-autonomous city's status as one of Asia's largest financial hubs is at risk.

Why it matters: Political freedoms and strong rule of law helped make Hong Kong a thriving center for international banking and finance. But China's leaders may be betting that top firms in Hong Kong will trade some political freedoms for the economic prosperity Beijing can offer.