Analysis. The CSU is ready to break the alliance. Internal Affairs Minister Horst Seehofer has rejected Merkel’s latest compromise offer and promises to trample her ‘European solution’ as well.

German coalition divided over refugee policy, raising ‘confidence vote’ threats

The Bavarian leadership rejected this week the latest refugee proposal from Angela Merkel to Minister of Internal Affairs Horst Seehofer to solve the crisis triggered by the CIS master plan. She suggested stopping asylum seekers at the border who had already been rejected in Germany, but there would be no border blockade for refugees with permits issued in the EU area.

“When it comes to immigration, we are not prepared to go halfway,” the governor of Bavaria, Markus Söder, said from Munich. In Berlin the Bundestag session was blatantly interrupted for the unrelated “emergency meetings” of the CDU and CSU Groups. On the issue at stake—the rejection of refugees from other EU states—the Christian-socialists did not want to accept any compromise, nor wait for the European solution that the chancellor will try to negotiate in Brussels on June 28.

“The Bavarian master plan needs to be approved before consulting the heads of foreign governments, because implementation remains the strict responsibility of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and we must consider the local population, not the whole of Europe,” Alexander Dolbrindt, the Christian Social Group leader, said in the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper. “We are very ready with Minister Seehofer to prepare the formal exit from the alliance with the CDU in case Merkel refuses to give the final approval to the crackdown on immigration provided in the agreements between the Union’s partners.”

It’s horrible scenario for the chancellor (whose resilience, however, is guaranteed by “constructive distrust”—her government can fall only in the presence of an alternative majority formed in Parliament) and a political challenge as the emergency-migrants of 2015. Indeed, Mutti cannot postpone the application of the maximum ceiling of refugees that Seehofer has been pursuing for three years. And the Chancellor perfectly knows that, with the elections for the renewal of the Landtag of Munich set for Oct. 14, the watchword of the CIS to stop the hemorrhaging of votes toward Alternative für Deutschland can only be the “re-establishment of order at the borders,” Dolbrindt said Thursday after the separate debates in Parliament.

The CSU will meet Monday to vote for the introduction of border controls and to work out the move for parliamentary coverage for the Minister of Internal Affairs, who had just returned from the summit with the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Monday is also the deadline of the ultimatum given to Merkel to “correct the errors of her 2015 immigration policy.” The leader of the Group of Christian Socialists recalled, taking the opportunity to spill more fuel on the fire: “People have lost confidence and patience, too. I don’t deny that this time we are facing a very serious situation.” This was understood by the sudden halt to parliamentary proceedings, an unusual event in Germany.

Merkel asked the legal experts of the CDU to evaluate a compromise solution between Seehofer’s request and her own political line. “The CDU leadership has reaffirmed the objective of effectively controlling migration processes in Europe and entry into the Federal Republic, believing that those who have been refused asylum in the past can be refused entry at the German border,” her party said in a statement.

But Axel Fischer, a CDU member of parliament, said, “Since 2015 we have been discussing this issue, now we have to decide. If necessary, also by a vote of confidence.”

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