It’s over for German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
On Tuesday, Merkel slammed a plan from Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary that would close Macedonia and Bulgaria’s borders with Greece to keep refugees out.
Instead, Merkel wants Turkey to seal its borders and fly refugees to Europe.
The four-nation plan would exclude Greece from Europe's passport-free Schengen zone.
Merkel stated, "Do we really want to give up already and close the Greek-Macedonian-Bulgarian border, with all the consequences this would have for Greece and the European Union as a whole and therefore the Schengen area?” She added, "I will focus all my strength ... on making the European-Turkish approach the path that will be taken."
Merkel’s conciliatory policy toward refugees has hurt her popularity; an early February poll found Merkel’s personal approval rating dropping 12 points to 46 percent, the lowest since August 2011. Over 1.1 million refugees arrived in Germany last year.
Merkel has also been widely criticized by other nations in Europe:
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, responding to Merkel's call for a permanent quota system: "Europe cannot take in all the migrants from Syria, Iraq or Africa. It has to regain control over its borders, over its migration or asylum policies."
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev: “It's quite simply stupid to open Europe's doors wide and invite in everyone who wants to come to your country.
Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak: "As long as there is no common European strategy, it is legitimate that the nations along the Balkans route protect their borders."
“We would become a laughing stock if we agreed new quotas, considering the current situation where not even 1,000 of the agreed 160,000 have been distributed among European countries.”
Angela Merkel championing refugees to Europe
None of that matters to the bull-headed Merkel, who argued, “We would become a laughing stock if we agreed new quotas, considering the current situation where not even 1,000 of the agreed 160,000 have been distributed among European countries.” As Bloomberg has reported, her sympathies are clear: “At a private meal last month with German newspaper executives critical of her stance, she proudly served up Arab food and then bristled at a guest’s joke that the fish must have been caught by a refugee, according to a person with knowledge of the incident.”