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Immigration Feud Explodes

DW reports German migration policy feuding continues between Angela Merkel and interior minister.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer remain at loggerheads over Germany's migration policy.

On Thursday morning, the Bundestag's plenary session had to be interrupted to allow for separate meetings of each party's parliamentary group on the country's migration and asylum policies.

According to media reports citing persons involved in the negotiations, Seehofer has told Merkel he would go it alone, if no compromise can be reached and that he would use a so-called "ministerial authorization" to implement his plan.

The main sticking point between Seehofer, who is from the Bavarian Christian Social Union, and Merkel's Christian Democratic Union is Seehofer's demand that border states like Bavaria should be allowed to refuse asylum-seekers trying to enter Germany if they have registered in another EU state or have been refused asylum in Germany already.

German Government Crisis Getting Serious

From Eurointelligence

  • Horst Seehofer, Germany's Interior Minister, threatens to start the automatic rejection of refugees by executive order - which would be the end of the coalition.
  • The government crisis was triggered by two unrelated events - the murder of a young girl by an immigrant, and a scandal about the granting of refugee status to illegal immigrants.

What we are seeing in Germany right now is the unsustainable not being sustained. Angela Merkel's government is not quite at its end. It may survive this latest crisis even more damaged than it already is. But even commentators that support Markel now see the endgame arriving.

The issue is whether the CSU is going to pull the plug on the government right now, or whether they will give Merkel 14 days until the European summit to get an EU-level refugee agreement. It didn't happen in the last three years, so why would 14 days really make a difference?

On Monday Horst Seehofer is planning to unilaterally adopt an executive order, which he is allowed to do under German law, to deny any refugees entry at the border if they are registered in another EU country. Refugees are registered under the Eurodac system at the country of arrival, where their fingerprints are recorded. The CSU wants anyone with a recorded fingerprint to be rejected at the border without due process. Merkel's position is that this would be ok in principle, but Germany should not be able to act unilaterally. She wants to get an agreement on the Eurodac procedure at the European Council or, if that is not possible, in a series of bilateral agreements. She asked Seehofer and Markus Soder, the Bavarian prime minister, for another two weeks until the EU summit. CSU MPs met yesterday and unanimously rejected her request, putting their weight behind Seehofer. They said they already gave Merkel three years to sort out the refugee mess. Fourteen days are not going to make a difference.

>If Seehofer goes ahead with his executive order, Merkel would presumably fire him and the coalition would be at an end. So would be the union between CDU and CSU, which are not competing in Bavaria. There was a similar crisis in 1976 when the CSU's former leader Franz-Josef Strauss almost pulled the plug on the union with the CDU, led by Helmut Kohl at the time.

One of the driving forces behind the CSU's position is Soder, who is the CSU's new strongman. He spoke about an end of "orderly multilateralism", as he put it, very much in the spirit of Donald Trump. Much of his action is also motivated by the Bavarian state elections this October.

There are no good outcomes. It is possible that the government coalition ends. It is possible that the CDU and CSU factions separate. Or they may manage to find a compromise and get booted out next time. The winner is the AfD. 

Good Outcomes

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I knew the Eurointelligence final line before I read it: The winner is the AfD.

As usual, I agree with the Eurointelligence take on what is happening. Also, as usual, I disagree about solutions and results.

A win by the AfD to the demise of Merkel is an excellent outcome. It's not that I care for the AfD that much (and indeed I don't). Rather, I cannot stand Merkel.

This is quite similar to my vote for Trump on the basis it would have been idiotic to vote for Hillary.

As I see it, Trump has already done two good things. He made an excellent appointment to the Supreme Court and he is engaging with North Korea.

Yes, I rail against Trump's trade policies, constantly. But Hillary had essentially the same positions. She just would not have been as belligerent about things.

I do not care about party positions. I do care about policies. I am an equal party basher.

Peak Merkel

On October 18, 2015, In reference to Merkel's inane decision to unilaterally welcome refugees, I wrote Swamped By Stupidity; Peak Merkel

It took a bit, and she barely survived the last election, but Merkel is burnt toast.

All it took was someone in her own coalition to tell her to go to hell. That happened with Seehofer over the precise reason I stated in 2015.

However, this may drag on. Merkel may cave to public sentiment as she has done many times before.

Her main problem is the same as Hillary's. She just cannot admit a mistake on serious issues. With Hillary, it was the war in Iraq. With Merkel, it's immigration.

Trump is not the hypocrite she is, especially on the environment. But even if she survives this mess, it's the end of the line.

Good Riddance.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock