Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

German MP predicts Merkel could be ousted end of next week

Cracks are beginning to appear in the German political alliance over mounting immigration tensions in Europe GETTYCracks are beginning to appear in the German political alliance over mounting immigration tensions
Deanna Wagner | 18 June, 2018, 15:26

Angela Merkel is seeking emergency talks with European Union leaders as her Government is teetering on the verge of collapse in a row about immigration. He favors stronger screening of refugees' possible terrorist connections and speeding up deportations of failed asylum seekers, according to Focus Online.

Merkel herself has come a long way since the fall of 2015, when she said that there was no legal limit to the number of people who have a right to asylum and told Germans that "we will manage" the challenge of integrating migrants, many of them from war-torn countries like Syria and Afghanistan.

Merkel, who has fought criticism from some CDU members who prefer the CSU's tougher line, seems to have won over a majority of her lawmakers as it dawns on them how high the stakes are.

Top CSU leaders huddled Monday morning in the party's home base of Munich.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's fourth-term government took almost six months to put together, taking office in March after the center-left Social Democrats reluctantly agreed to team up with her conservatives again.

The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) political party, which opposes immigration, holds a demonstration titled "Future Germany" on May 27, 2018, in Berlin.

"Nobody in the CSU is interested in toppling the Chancellor, dissolving the CDU/CSU partnership or blowing up the coalition [between the CDU/CSU and the Social Democrats]", Seehofer told Bild newspaper.

Signalling that he is leaning towards the latter option, Seehofer wrote in a column in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that "it is essential that the European Union summit takes a decision at the end of June. The situation is serious but still solvable".

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 European Union cooperation on defense, security and foreign policy ahead of the June summit. CSU leaders had previously been dismissive of her chances to reach agreement there, given that the issue has bedeviled the continent for the past three years, with no resolution in sight.

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Migration, always a fraught political issue for Europe, has become even more sensitive in recent weeks.

Austria, governed by a center-right and far-right coalition, has also vowed to take a much tougher stand. Such a move could only happen if it was organised by the European commission, he said.

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.

Germany had the most asylum seekers of any European nation, with more than 200,000.

Merkel and Seehofer papered over the cracks ahead of last year's national election, but support for both parties still dropped significantly.

Such a direct challenge to Merkel would force her to fire Interior Minister Horst Seehofer - a vocal critic of her open door immigration policy and a thorn in her side. "Germany is characterized by Christianity". However, the Bavarian politician himself denied putting his party on a collision course with Merkel. Still, polls suggest that its absolute majority in the Bavarian state legislature is in danger in the October 14 state election - and it is being challenged on the right by the far-right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party.

But even if the crisis is part theater, it also represents a real threat to Merkel's hold on power, which has steadily weakened since the CDU-CSU alliance underperformed in elections last September.

Monday is "destiny day for Angela Merkel".