The Chairwoman of the German Social Democrats (SPD), Andrea Nahles, has promised to oppose CSU leader and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, whose proposals on turning away from Germany asylum seekers, registered in other countries, has caused a row within the CDU/CSU alliance and put the coalition government in jeopardy.
According to the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, at her party congress in the German city of Bochum, Nahles pointed out that debates over refugee policy, prompted by the Bavarian politicians, remind her of eurosceptic attitudes in the UK which eventually led to Brexit. She claimed that Seehofer and another leading CSU figure, Bavaria's leader Markus Söder, are "on the way to a German Brexit, which means nothing less than the end of Europe."
"We have watched the UK over the years with occasional irony, like we sometimes ridicule the Free State [Bavaria] in the south," she admitted, as cited by the FAZ newspaper, adding that one shouldn’t be surprised if the citizens take these “years of buzz” seriously and oppose Europe.
Keeping this in mind, she called on her fellow social democrats to demonstrate “resistance from the very beginning” of such processes. Nahles promise to oppose Seehofer, whom she called "a threat to Europe.” She accused the Interior Minister from Bavaria of trying to settle political scores rather than solving the problem.
"This is obviously a power struggle with Chancellor Merkel, and this obviously shadows everything else," she claimed, calling it a "shabby" course of action and insisting that Germany deserved more than a "fight among political parties for territory."
The matter is to be discussed at a coalition committee meeting in Berlin on June 26, initiated by the SPD, which could strike the coalition agreement with the CDU/CSU alliance only this March after several months of talks. She hopes to make the CSU give a clear respond on where it really stands.
"If we look at the chaotic world, then it is perfectly clear that no country can do it alone. We all need each other to meet these challenges. In addition, I would like to hear a clear commitment from the CSU – does it stand for it?" she said, claiming SPD was for "a humane, a realistic and a sober course in refugee policy in strict accordance with our rule of law."
However, she also admitted that Germany can’t accept everyone who comes there, stating that asylum procedures must be designed for taking decisions quickly and safely, and slammed both CDU and CSU for failures in the migration policy over the past 13 years, as they have led the government in Germany.
Amid the latest power clash with the CSU over the immigration issue and border controls, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her CDU party accepted an ultimatum presented by Seehofer to meet the decision on his “Migration Masterplan.” He proposes to turn migrants away at the German border if they had already been refused asylum or have been registered in other EU states, while Merkel, previously criticized for her signature “open border” policy, is seeking to opt for a universal solution for the EU’s migration crisis and reach deals with Italy and Greece among others. On July 1, after the EU summit, Merkel is due to inform the CDU leadership about the state of her talks with the European states that have been most affected by the migration crisis. If she fails to find a solution to the issue at the European level, he threatens to use his “ministerial authorization” to unilaterally implement the “master plan” and order border police to start turning back asylum seekers.
In the wake of the 2015 migration crisis in Europe, when thousands of migrants from Africa and the Middle East headed to Europe at an unprecedented level, Merkel announced an “open borders” policy in Germany, promising to take in refugees. This turned Germany into a major recipient for the newcomers. In 2015, the number of refugees in Germany exceeded 1 million, but later decreased, as the country welcomed 325,400 asylum-seekers, accounting for almost 60 percent of the 540,000 refugees resettled in 2017.