Angela Merkel’s government is teetering on collapse as the German chancellor spars with her coalition partners over policies on immigration and asylum-seekers.
What is happening?
The coalition between Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the Bavarian Christian Social Union is split over the latter’s new proposal to limit asylum-seekers at the country’s borders, Fox News reported.
In 2015, Merkel began an “open door” policy for migrants that allowed about 1 million refugees into the country. The migration has slowed over the past two years, but Germany still receives about 11,000 new asylum-seekers each month, the report states.
Merkel, regarded by some as “the most powerful woman in the world and de facto leader of the European Union,” is facing opposition from the Alternative for Germany, a right-leaning group. The AfD became the third-largest party in Germany after the 2017 federal election.
Horst Seehofer, the CSU interior minister, whose party is facing regional elections in October, is calling for Germany to turn away refugees who have also registered in other European countries. Also, Seehofer supports blocking asylum-seekers whose applications were previously rejected by Germany.
Why is Merkel resisting?
Merkel has said she believes limiting migrants could further divide the European Union and place a greater burden on Italy, Greece and Spain.
She is hoping for a bilateral agreement at an EU summit at the end of June, but the CSU is pressing her with a deadline of next Monday, the report states.
“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.
According to figures from Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, most refugees in 2017 came from Syria (50,422), Iraq (21,930), and Afghanistan (16,423).
Negotiations between the CDU and CSU are expected to be mediated by Wolfgang Schaueble, a former finance minister and current parliamentary president who is respected on both sides, Fox News reported.
“We are in a serious, a very serious situation,” said Alexander Dobrindt, the CSU parliamentary group leader.
About 62 percent of Germany’s citizens believe refugees without the proper paperwork should not be allowed in the country, according to a poll published Thursday by German broadcaster ARD.
Merkel, Germany's chancellor since 2005, has topped Forbes list of the 100 most powerful women in the world for 11 of the past 12 years.