The Bavarians threaten Berlin and Brussels with immigration crisis

In global challenges such as terrorism, climate change, migration and trade, Europe will only have any weight in the world if the member nations pull together, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the 21st WDR Europaforum TV show. “No country can do that alone.” Jun 07, 2018. WDR is a regional public service television channel in North Rhine-Westphalia. (Photo: Bundesregierung/Denzel).

In an unprecedented move, the German Interior Minister is betraying his boss – Chancellor Angela Merkel – and is forming an anti-refugee alliance with the extreme right-wing Austrian government and the precarious new Italian populist administration. The impossible German Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, the leader of the Bavarian CSU party and junior partner in the Berlin governing coalition, came to terms with the Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz and the Italian extreme right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, President of his populist Lega party, to overrule Merkel’s open door immigration policy. The Bavarian move creates a political stalemate in Germany and, at the same time, an immigration/refugee crisis in the entire European Union. Let’s take one thing at a time.

According to the prestigious news group Handelsblatt Global, “Horst Seehofer, in open revolt against Chancellor Angela Merkel over immigration, has gone behind her back by seeking an unofficial alliance with Austria and Italy”. He actually threatens to introduce a divisive law proposal to the Federal Parliament, the Bundestag, overruling Merkel’s policy.

Toppling the Chancellor?

He clearly then threatens to topple the Chancellor, by breaking his Bavarian CSU party alliance with Merkel’s CDU. In this way, the CSU degrades the CDU plus the socialist SPD party government partnership, to a minority position. Seehofer advertised he has come to terms with the Austrians and the Italians, to jointly promote an anti-immigration agenda in the EU. Kurz, in an unofficial visit to Germany said, “In our opinion we need an ‘axis of the willing’ in the fight against illegal migration.”

In a later development, last Monday, the Bavarians confirmed that they ask for measures to curb immigration, but said there is still more work to do about it. This is clearly a rescheduling of the final clash with Merkel. Reportedly, Seehofer said, he “cannot stand that woman any more”. Her Christian Democratic Union and the Bavarian sister Christian party, the Christian Social Union, have a 70 years history of unbreakable alliance in government and in opposition.

The Bavarians turn up…

Now, CSU wants to return immigrants back to the country of their first entrance and registration. Merkel, though, decisively stands by her open door immigration policy, which brought 1.5 million immigrants and refugees into Germany in the crisis year of 2015. If the two Christian parties don’t find a compromise, Germany enters into political limbo. As noted above, CDU and the Socialists do not have enough seats in the Parliament to support a viable majority government.

The final clash is now transferred to be staged during the 28-29 June European Union Summit in Brussels. Merkel is currently rushing to secure enough backing for an EU consensus for a dovish common immigration policy. In any case, she stands by her 2015 policy options, rejecting the Bavarian xenophobic, selfish and inward looking proposal.

Problems within

The problem is, though, that Merkel has difficulties even within her own party, the CDU. Her open door immigration policy was never happily accepted by her Christian Democrats, to say the least. In view of that, Merkel is now reportedly trying to conclude special deals with Greece and Italy along the lines of the EU – Turkey one, which just fell apart. The quota system agreed two years ago for all EU countries to accept certain numbers of refugees and immigrants has never functioned. Poland, Hungary and other central EU member states obstinately denied to apply it.

The two Mediterranean countries are the main entrance gates for immigrants and refugees from Asia and Africa heading for the EU. This year, arrivals have increased significantly, signalling a possible culmination, if not a new crisis, in the summer. On top of that, Turkey has pulled out from the deal it had with the EU, to withhold the Syrians and other refugees on her soil, in return for a €3+3 billion EU financial subsidy.

The Mediterraneans

If Merkel negotiates something similar with Greece and Italy, it would be difficult to convince the central Europeans to share the costs. If EU budget money is to be spent in Greece and Italy, countries like Poland and Hungary will surely veto the deal, even if the Mediterraneans accept the challenge.

All in all, it’s probable that the Bavarians and Merkel finally manage to reach a compromise. Such a possibility is to agree to a semi-open immigration regime and leave it a bit vague. Then, the interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, being the pertinent government minister to implement it, can turn it by and large into what he likes. Alas, nevertheless, the damage is done, because the Bavarians chose to cooperate with other like minded Europeans to undermine their own country’s main policy lines.

Even worse, in this case, it’s about an ‘unholy alliance’ between extreme right and demagogue politicians to prop up a xenophobic and inhumane plan. The whole affair will surely deeply divide the EU.

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Comments

  1. ya know I furtzen and it smellen NIX GUT JA VOL.

  2. Must have bin die saur kraut JA VOL MEIN HERR

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