German North-South conflict on migration escalates

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) takes an oath as she is sworn in by the President of the German Parliament (Bundestag), Wolfgang Schaeuble (C), on the day of the election of the Federal Chancellor at the Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, 14 March 2018. A coalition of Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Christian Social Union (CSU) and Social Democratic Party (SPD) forms the new German government. EPA-EFE/RONALD WITTEK

German North-South conflict on migration escalates


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Angela Merkel‘s is calling Wolfgang Schäuble to mediate in the German North-South policy dispute over migration policy, the Rheinische Post reports.

Schäuble’s hails from the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), the Christian Democratic Party’s (CDU) sister party in the affluent and traditionally more conservative southern region of Bavaria.

Schäuble has often expressed policy opinions that deviated from those of the Chancellor, ranging from economic and including migration policy. However, he is considered loyal to Angela Merkel, with whom he has worked shoulder to shoulder since he lost from her a bid for the party’s leadership. His critical to Merkel past, combined with his loyalty make him an ideal mediator in an ongoing political crisis that appears to be calling into question the stability of the German government.

The leader of the of the CSU, Horst Seehofer, is the Minister of Interior and migration policy is his portfolio. On Tuesday he extended his political solidarity with the Italian counterpart and leader of the far-right Lega, Matteo Salvini, in his dispute over migration policy with the French President Emmanuel Macron.

He is calling for a “master plan” to disrupt the flow of refugees into Europe, inviting Salvini in Berlin for consultations. On Wednesday, their initiative was joined by the Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, who quoted Seehofer and called for a “coalition of the willing.”

Seehofer is threatening to revoke his party’s support for the German government if his stance on migration policy does not prevail. Seehofer faces state elections in Bavaria in October and his policy stands could be seen as shielding electoral defections to the right of the party towards the Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Chancellor Merkel is adamant that no refugee can be denied entry to Germany if they are registered in an EU member state. However, she is hoping to secure a more effective policy for the distribution of asylum seekers across the union in the forthcoming European Summit in June (28-29).

Meanwhile, the southern states of Hesse and Bavaria are demanding the devolution of asylum policy and the authority to deny international protection to refugees.

The conservative bloc’s coalition partner, the Social Democrats (SPD), came out on Friday in support of Chancellor Merkel, with Parliamentary Leader Andrea Nahles underscoring that migration policy must be framed by the European Union.

“The right decisions for Germany can only be found with Europe,” Nahles said according to the public broadcaster DW. However, the SPD also makes clear that it expects from the Christian Democrats to stick to their contractual policy commitments on migration policy.

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