On the back of the latest round of fighting over illegal immigration, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer of Bavaria’s CSU party reportedly castigated Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying he “can’t work with this woman anymore”.
Merkel is adamant that migrant policy can only be effectively agreed and implemented at the European level and is at loggerheads with her own conservative Bavarian allies and her Interior Minister who want unilateral action.
The CSU’s Bavarian state premier Markus Soeder said that the ongoing “asylum tourism” meant that, as a government, “we’re nearing the endgame when it comes to our credibility”. But “we want finally to have a sustainable solution for turning back refugees at our borders”.
Seehofer and Merkel have long had an awkward relationship.
Merkel has blocked the proposal because it would defy Europe’s open-border agreement; place an even greater burden on southern European countries, often the first ones to register migrants; and risk widening the already gaping divisions in the European Union.
But doing so would bring down her government and her own political career would nearly certainly be over.
From January to May, about 78,000 people sought asylum in Germany compared with 90,000 a year ago, the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper said Saturday, citing Interior Ministry data. The migration has slowed over the past two years, but Germany still receives about 11,000 new asylum-seekers each month, the report states.
“The people are running out of patience”, he told Bild daily.
Seehofer plans to hold a press conference in Munich on Monday following a meeting of CSU leaders on migration, Reuters reported. Previously, he clashed with the chancellor on the issue of whether Islam is part of German culture, demanded that she impose limits on new arrivals, and threatened to not support her in the 2016 general election.
The talks should be an opportunity for Mr Macron and Mrs Merkel to ensure that they are in line with each other’s views ahead of a major European Union summit on June 28 and 29.
In that scenario, Merkel could lead a minority government with the third party in the coalition, the Social Democrats (SPD), or call fresh elections that would likely benefit only the AfD, he said.
Since then, the rise of the anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany (AfD) to becoming the official opposition to the current grand coalition government in the Bundestag has seen the CSU react by embracing a tougher line on mass migration and champion more conservative social issues, even ordering crosses be put up in government buildings to assert Bavaria’s “cultural identity”.
In a sign of the frayed nerves, Germany’s political and media world lurched into a brief panic Friday as several media outlets fell for a hoax tweet claiming Seehofer’s CSU was quitting the coalition.