It's been a bad month for German chancellor Angela Merkel, whose approval ratings fell sharply last month, a ZDF poll showed on Friday, in the second sign of a voter backlash to her refugee policy since Islamist militant attacks in Germany last month. With one year to go until Germany's federal election, the poll gave Merkel an approval rating of 1.0, down from 1.4 in July on a scale of 5.0 to -5.0. Even more troubling for Europe's most influential politician, she came fourth in a ranking of politicians behind the Green state premier of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, Social Democrat Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and conservative Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.
The next electoral test for her conservatives comes in state elections next month in Berlin and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern that are expected to see a strong showing from the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD).
The reason for Merkel's poll plunge is familiar: increasingly more Germans blame her for the surge in refugee terrorist attacks over the past month, and her open-door migrant policy has come under intense scrutiny after two attacks claimed by the jihadist militant group Islamic State last month. The poll showed only 44 percent of Germans think her migrant policy is good and 52 percent view it as bad.
A just as big concern is that according to the poll, 54% of Germans think the EU's disputed migrant deal with Turkey will fail. Some 35 percent believe the European Union's talks with Ankara over Turkish membership in the bloc should be stopped due to the political situation in Turkey. That particular outcome, however, would lead to a vicious cycle, where Turkey releases millions more refugees, who end up in Germany and lead to even greater social discontent and even more displeasure with Merkel.
And while Germans are clearly angry about the integration of more than a million migrants who arrived last year alone, only two weeks ago, Merkel repeated her mantra that Germany could manage the influx of refugees and said she would not change course, even as the "integration" of over 1 million refugees allowed inside Germany in 2015 has so far been a complete disaster.
According to Reuters, Merkel has invited executives from some of Germany's biggest listed companies to attend a summit next month where she will urge them to hire more refugees. According to Germany's Bild, the government wants to get as many as possible refugees into the job market, which would reduce their dependence on the state and compensate for labor shortages as the workforce ages.
Merkel will push reluctant German companies to offer more traineeships and position to refugees, Bild reported. Large companies have been criticized for doing little to help integrate the refugees into the thriving job market. Companies say most of the new arrivals lack the German language skills and the education required for a job.
Engineering giant Siemens, chemicals group Evonik, carmakers Opel and VW and utility RWE will share with Merkel the results of pilot projects with refugees, Bild said. One month ago, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that the 30 biggest DAX-listed companies had employed only 54 refugees until June, including 50 who were hired by logistics provider Deutsche Post.
And so, it appears that Germany's refugee integration experiment is failing fast, perhaps for more than just one reason. The flipside is that if Deutsche Bank needs a scapegoat CEO to "hire" just so it can dump the ongoing collapse of Europe's biggest bank into his lap, it now has many potential candidates.