Hardline EU ministers form ‘axis of the willing’ against illegal migrants
The dispute has raised questions over Merkel’s future, as nationalist forces already in power elsewhere in Europe turn up the heat on the long-serving German chancellor for her welcoming stance toward migrants.
Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday said she expected German military expenditure to rise steadily in coming years, in line with Berlin’s pledge to meet a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation target of moving toward spending 2 percent of economic output by 2024.
Merkel argues that Germany must not take the sudden and unilateral step of rejecting asylum seekers at the border, which would add to the burden faced by frontline countries like Italy and Greece.
But Seehofer reportedly told her the European Union had failed to forge a common policy since the refugee crisis erupted in 2015 and it was hardly credible to think it would do so by the end of the month.A Bundestag session was interrupted for two hours on Thursday morning so Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister party the CSU, to which Seehofer belongs, could hold separate emergency meetings.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing strong pressure to tighten her country’s refugee policies to avoid the collapse of her coalition government as the heated row over the handling of migration intensifies.
That would represent a reversal of Merkel’s open-doors migrant policy adopted in 2015, which fuelled a rise in support for the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) and caused rifts within her conservative bloc.
The scuffle forced plenary to suspend Bundestag on Thursday for most of day and both conservative parties – Merkel’s CDU and CSU – met exceptionally separately with emissaries running from one room to anor in building.
Merkel objects to part of Seehofer’s plan which allows German authorities to reject migrants who reach German borders, drawn by the country’s prosperity and stability if they have already registered in other European Union states to the south.
However, hardline Bavarian state premier Markus Soeder showed little sign of backing down, insisting Germany must start rejecting migrants at its borders and it was pointless waiting for a European solution.
The CDU and the Social Democrats (SPD) alone lack a majority in parliament. His plan would allow police to turn away migrants who have already sought asylum in another European Union nation.
“The task of governing our country isn’t an episode of Game of Thrones, but a serious matter”, Olaf Scholz said on Twitter.
For the chancellor, the only sustainable solution would be a Europe-wide agreement – a point she will likely push when she meets later Tuesday with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, whose country would be hardest hit if Germany were to close its doors.
Merkel has the backing for now of the third party in her coalition, the Social Democratic Party.