German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been under fire for her open border policy allowing millions of immigrants to flood Germany. Now, the government is on the brink as Merkel battles her coalition partners on immigration and asylum seekers.
The coalition between Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) has fractured over the latter’s new proposed policy that would turn away more asylum seekers at the country’s borders.
The policy flies in the face of the most powerful woman in the world and de factor leader of the European Union. In 2015, her ‘open door’ policy to migrants saw approximately 1 million refugees flood into the country. Although migrant arrivals have dropped steeply in the past two years, Germany still registered around 11,000 new asylum-seekers each month.
Her decision is believed to be a major contributing factor to the surge in support for the far-Right and anti-Islam Alternative for Germany (AfD), which became the third-largest party in Germany after the 2017 federal election when it won 94 seats in the Bundestag.
Horst Seehofer, the CSU interior minister, whose party is facing regional elections in October, wants Germany to turn back refugees who have already registered in other European countries. He also wants to block migrants whose asylum applications in Germany have already been rejected from returning.
Merkel fears such a move could increase the burden on countries include Italy, Greece and Spain, believing it could potentially fracture the European Union even further.
While she wants to see a bilateral agreement at a EU summit and the end of June, the CSU has set her an effective ultimatum of next Monday.
“Personally, I think that illegal migration is one of the challenges for the European Union and therefore I believe that we shouldn’t act unilaterally, that we shouldn’t act without coordination and that we shouldn’t act in a way that burdens third parties, involved,” Merkel said.
Wolfgang Schaueble, the former finance minister and current parliamentary president who is respected on both sides, has been asked to mediate negotiations between the CDU and CSU.
“We are in a serious, a very serious situation,” said Alexander Dobrindt, the CSU parliamentary group leader.
A poll published on Thursday by German broadcaster ARD found that 62 per cent of its citizens believe refugees without papers should not be allowed in.
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