Germany is pressing for early membership in the EU for Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, a $30 million aid package for the Balkans and a new effort to end the conflict between the Turkish military and Kurds in southeastern Turkey. Germany is also embarking on several initiatives that it hopes will help stabilize Eastern Europe and prevent large-scale emigration. Said one former government advisor, "German foreign policy these days is driven by a simple priority: to prevent poor foreigners from swamping our prosperous county."
Immigration continues to be controversial in Germany. The German People's Union ran ads before the September 5 election in the state of Brandenburg saying: "No more money for foreigners," and "German money for German workers." The state of Brandenburg, with an unemployment rate of 20 percent, has the most violence against foreignersâ€”so far in 1999, there have been 33 acts of serious violence against foreigners.
German Interior Minister Otto Schily said on September 26 that Germany was prepared to forcibly repatriate Kosovars because the situation in Kosovo had stabilized. About 8,000 of the 15,000 Kosovars given sanctuary during the conflict have returned.
"Germany supports forced return of Kosovo refugees," Reuters, September 26, 1999. William Drozdiak, "Germany Turns Its Gaze to Eastern Europe; Nation Aims to 'Export Stability' by Taking Lead in Balkans Aid, EU Expansion," Washington Post, September 10, 1999. Ian Traynor, "Hate campaign Far right sets sights on Brandenburg," Guardian, September 4, 1999.