Migrant crisis: Will Merkel be left out in the cold?

  • 27 January 2016
  • From the section World
A young boy covered is registered by German police at the train station in Rosenheim, Germany in September 2015 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Hundreds of migrants are arriving every day at Rosenheim train station in Bavaria

On the platform of Rosenheim station, the German police have got the reception of asylum seekers down to a fine art.

Twice hourly, the Austrian authorities put them on trains across the border, and the Germans are there to receive and process them.

Behind this practised routine though there looms a crisis for Germany and Europe. For the numbers arriving in Rosenheim and other centres in Bavaria are still so large that it has triggered a revolt against Chancellor Angela Merkel and her policy of allowing unlimited numbers of asylum seekers to come to her country from war zones.

As we watched people registering at Rosenheim, Inspector Benjamin Fretscher told me that arrivals there are running at between 800 and 2,000 a day. But when you include those getting to other centres in the southern German state, the total comes to 3,000-4,000 each day, officials told us off camera - a very different story to the 2,000 daily mentioned recently by Germany's interior minister.

That 3,000-4,000 figure could be politically ruinous for Mrs Merkel, for - at that rate - far from the steep cut promised for 2016 by the German government, this year's asylum seekers would far exceed last year's 1.1 million.

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Battle lines drawn over migrant crossings

  • 13 January 2016
  • From the section World
A migrant woman holds a child on a beach near the town of Mytilene Image copyright AP

From the waters of the Aegean, to capitals from Athens to Ankara the battle lines are being drawn for 2016's contest between migrants seeking to reach Europe and those who would stop them.

While, even in the first few days of this year, thousands have shown themselves willing to undertake the perilous journey, with dozens of lives already lost at sea, there are signs that a whole battery of measures planned to restrict the traffic in people is starting to have an effect.

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A perfect storm of populism

  • 26 December 2015
  • From the section World
Lightning over Cobham, Surrey Image copyright Stuart Edwards

The coming year is one fraught with challenge for diplomats. Indeed, when it comes to forging international agreements while a perfect storm of populism, identity politics and insecurity roils electorates worldwide, I cannot think of a worse time for diplomacy in 25 years of covering it.

Beset by insecurity (economic and physical), voters in many democracies have moved towards parties rejecting traditional policies or models of co-operation.

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Defence Review: Fighting old battles?

  • 24 November 2015
  • From the section UK
British Soldier on patrol in the green zone in the Helmand province, Southern Afghanistan Image copyright PA

Generals, so the old saying goes, are always preparing to fight the last war.

This Strategic Defence and Security Review, the UK government's attempt to shape the armed forces for the coming five years, to be fair to its authors, doesn't do that.

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Paris attacks: Investigators face huge task

  • 20 November 2015
  • From the section Europe
Abdelhamid Abaaoud
Image caption Abdelhamid Abaaoud died during a police raid on a flat in Saint Denis

News that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, believed to be the ringleader of the Paris attacks, had died during a French police raid came as a welcome win for investigators.

At the same time though, they realise the Belgian jihadist's whereabouts was just one strand in a complex and evolving investigation being pursued under the enormous pressure created by the knowledge that their enemy may launch murderous follow-on attacks at any moment.

Read full article Paris attacks: Investigators face huge task

Russia's Syria intervention: One month in

A Russian Sukhoi Su-34 fighter jet at the Hmeymim air base, near Latakia in Syria Image copyright Reuters

The deployment of a Russian strike force of 34 combat jets and 21 helicopters showed how billions invested in the armed forces by President Vladimir Putin had paid off. Within days of arriving they were flying attack missions, and have now clocked up something like 1,000 of them.

President Putin wanted to show the world that he would bring a zeal to the battle against militancy in Syria that had been sorely lacking under the American-led coalition.

Read full article Russia's Syria intervention: One month in

Israel-Palestinians: How to untie diplomacy's Gordian knot?

A Palestinian student from Palestine Polytechnic University sits during a protest against Israel near the Jewish settlement of Beit Hagai, October 2015 Image copyright Getty Images

Escalating violence has stirred international diplomacy out of its torpor.

The foreign ministers and envoys once again have to apply their wits trying to unravel that Gordian knot of international affairs since 1948, the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

Read full article Israel-Palestinians: How to untie diplomacy's Gordian knot?

What is Putin's end game in Syria?

  • 23 September 2015
  • From the section Europe
Rebel fighters fire a heavy machine gun during clashes with Syrian pro-government forces Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Rebel fighters clash with Syrian pro-government forces

With Western policy on Syria in a state of flux could the timing of Russia's military move into that country be more perfect?

The operation to move dozens of combat aircraft and hundreds of troops to the aid of President Bashar al-Assad must have been given the green light some weeks ago, but think of what's been happening during the past 10 days as reports emerged of the Russians appearing at an air base near the Assad stronghold of Latakia.

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Five new reflections on Europe's migrant crisis

  • 17 September 2015
  • From the section UK

I'm just back from reporting on the European migration crisis in Berlin. In my last blog I offered some initial impressions from my time there. Here are a few more.

Syrians are a small minority of those seeking refuge in Germany

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption German police officers lead refugees through the Schoenefeld railway station near Berlin

While the tragedy of those fleeing Syria's terrible civil war has caught the popular imagination, such people formed just 20.1% of those seeking asylum in Germany from January to August 2015.

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Five reflections on Europe's migrant crisis

  • 4 September 2015
  • From the section UK

I'm in Berlin reporting for Newsnight at the moment on the crisis engulfing Europe. Here are a few of the wider issues I think it's worth reflecting on.

People Are Seeking a Better Life

Image copyright Getty Images

Read full article Five reflections on Europe's migrant crisis