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Before influx of new migrants, what’s Germany doing to help the crisis?

Germany will take in at least 800,000 migrants this year, more than any other country in Europe, including roughly 10,000 expected to arrive this weekend. Noah Barkin of Reuters joins Hari Sreenivasan via Skype from Berlin with what Germany is doing to help the migrant crisis.

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  • HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR ANCHOR:

    As many as 10,000 migrants are expected to arrive in Munich today. Germany takes in more asylum seekers than any other country in Europe and expects to handle at least 800,000 this year.

    For more on that, we are joined via Skype by Noah Barkin of Reuters.

    So, how is Germany receiving this influx of humanity day after day?

  • NOAH BARKIN, REUTERS:

    Well, we've all seen the pictures, the images in the media, Germans welcoming asylum seekers who come over from Hungary through Austria, most of them arriving in Munich, welcoming them with open arms, signs of welcome, handing out bananas and chocolate bars and things like that.

    So, that's what we've seen over the past — over the past week, but there are signs that the mood is shifting, and as more come in. We have about I think 4,000 came in, into Munich this morning.

    They're expecting another 7,000 or so by the end of the day, and the German foreign minister said yesterday that there could be as many as 40,000 who come in this weekend. That would be double what we saw last weekend. So, there is a bit of concern here in Germany that the influx won't stop.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Is there political pressure on the Angela Merkel now?

  • NOAH BARKIN:

    Merkel is hugely popular. She has record popularity ratings, unprecedented in postwar Germany. So, she's in a good position. The German economy is doing well, and I think that's one of the reasons, one of the main reasons she can do this.

    But I spoke with one of her — one of her top advisers on Thursday, and that person said that the mood can shift very quickly. We're already seeing attacks from her conservative sister party, the Christian Social Union, which is based if Bavaria. That's where most of the refugees are coming in. She has to be concerned about the mood shifting, certainly.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    All right. There were also stories today about marches all across Europe in solidarity with the refugees.

  • NOAH BARKIN:

    That's right. I mean, it's been interesting. We saw Merkel welcome these refugees with open arms, scenes of her taking — refugees taking selfies with her when she visited a shelter this week.

    And that seems to have had an effect on the rest of Europe. There was a French magazine "Le Point" that put a big picture of Merkel on its cover this week and said, "If only she were French."

    So, there is a bit of an outpouring of sympathy towards the refugees, I think partly because Germany has been so welcoming, but there are other countries — Hungary, for example, which is — which is pushing the refugees out as fast as they can.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    And in the longer term pictures, do you see Germany embracing these refugees as perhaps the future of their economy? I mean, these are young, sometimes very skilled people that are coming in.

  • NOAH BARKIN:

    Well, that's the big question. I mean, Germany does have a history of immigration. There were lots of Turks, Greeks, Italians who came after World War II to help rebuild the economy. So, this is something a lot of Germans have in their — you know, they heard around the dinner table when the young.

    But at the same time, I think — you know, I think the key things are, you know, if Germans feel the government has this under control, it's too early to say whether we're going to see — whether this same sort of acceptance is going to be here in a few months.

    We have the winter coming, and the authorities are going to have to find winter-proof shelters for these refugees. If they don't, if they're unable to do that and it's a huge, huge task, then you could see the mood beginning to shift.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    All right. Noah Barkin of Reuters joining us live from Germany tonight, thanks so much.

  • NOAH BARKIN:

    Thank you.

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