The German government is in crisis and it appears that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “open door” policy on illegals may finally be her undoing.
The threatened collapse of Merkel’s coalition government comes as the German people have apparently had enough of open doors and are looking to start sending many of the new arrivals back where they came from.
Merkel’s junior coalition partner — the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) – is under pressure from the nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which became Germany’s largest opposition party in the elections a few months ago. The AfD’s anti-migrant policy is becoming increasingly popular in Germany as several high-profile murders by new arrivals have alarmed voters. The CSU fears electoral disaster in upcoming regional elections.
CSU’s hard-line interior minister, Horst Seehofer, is threatening to blow up the government by demanding the right to turn refugees away if they have already applied for asylum in another EU country or had their applications rejected in Germany. Merkel refuses to enact the policy, saying it violates EU rules on immigration.
But the rest of the EU is currently engaged in an unseemly squabble over refugees as the new anti-immigrant Italian government has drawn the ire of Prime Minister Macron of France by refusing docking rights to a refugee ship.
It’s remarkable, but the issue of illegal immigration might lead to a serious breach in EU unity as nationalism across the continent once again comes to the fore.
Europe needs a common solution to its ongoing migration crisis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday, as her governing conservative coalition struggles to reconcile internal differences on refugee policy.
“This is a European challenge that also needs a European solution,” the chancellor said in her weekly podcast. “And I view this issue as decisive for keeping Europe together.”
Merkel has reportedly urged Seehofer to give her until the EU summit at the end of June, but the Bavarian has kept up pressure for a solution to be found in the coming days.
The chancellor, who is scheduled to meet her French counterpart Emmanuel Macron next week, said Germany and France would seek to set the agenda for EU cooperation on defense, security and foreign policy ahead of the June summit.
The two leaders would also discuss developing the economic and currency union, and boosting innovation, she said.
The people of Europe are moving farther and faster on illegal immigration than their leaders. This is causing friction not only between governments but inside them as well. Germany’s CSU is running scared because they have aligned themselves with a chancellor who is seen as not caring that her policies have allowed criminal aliens to run wild.
As if this weren’t trouble enough for Merkel, the government agency in charge of refugees and asylum has been hit by a bribery scandal:
Over recent weeks, the news agenda has been dominated by a scandal at the refugee authority (BAMF). Prosecutors believe that the BMF office in Bremen took bribes in exchange for handing asylum to undeserving recipients over a two-year period. These revelations opened a can of worms over BAMF practices nationwide.
Questions started to be asked about how reliable BAMF’s decision making had been as hundreds of thousands of asylum applications were assessed by understaffed offices. The ex-head of the authority openly blamed Merkel for a breakdown in the system, saying she ignored his warnings that his staff were overstretched.
The head of BAMF, Jutta Cordt, was fired today, indicating the scandal was probably widespread.
It is the nature of coalition governments to compromise, so unless Merkel acts stupidly, she and Seehofer will probably patch things up and then it’s on to the next crisis. But German politics is undergoing a big change and those politicians who see the change and react to it will be the survivors.
Those who refuse to alter course won’t.