Germany’s coalition threatened over EU migration

Merkel’s CDU coalition partner, the CSU, are demanding Merkel reaches a satisfactory agreement over EU asylum policy.

There are profound splits in Europe over migration with East European countries refusing to take in quotas of migrants. Italy has also joined the opposition.

This means it is unlikely there’ll be anything from tomorrow’s emergency European summit to placate the CSU.

The scheduled EU summit on June 28-29 could prove crucial. If Merkel doesn’t win some solid commitments then the coalition could be in trouble.

Threat to unilaterally turn back asylum seekers

German Interior Minister and CSU chief Horst Seehofer has threatened to unilaterally apply the CSU’s own asylum policy. That is to order the turning back of asylum seekers at Germany’s border.

The CSU has given a deadline of July 1 for Merkel to deliver something “of suitable impact”.

The CSU maybe prepared to bring down the coalition but they could just be engaging in brinkmanship.

However, the CSU are under pressure in their Bavarian heartlands from the far right Afd.

A further complication is that the June 28-29 summit was primarily intended to discuss Brexit. It will probably be preoccupied with attempts to rescue Merkel.

It looks set to be a rocky end to the month for the Euro

Gary Hollands – Geopolitical analyst Tyga FX

Update July 1

The CSU is meeting today to discuss the agreement on migration that Mekel got at the EU summit.

The general view up to now has been that the CSU will back down on its threat to the coalition.

However, there are some flies in the ointment to watch out for.

The Czech, Hungarian and Poland governments have denied any agreement with Merkel on accelerated return of asylum seekers.

Bild reports:

“CSU country group leader Dobrindt doubts Council decisions
Due to the denials from the Czech Republic and Hungary, there is great skepticism in the CSU over the decisions of German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) with other EU states.

CSU national group chief Alexander Dobrindt (CSU) told BamS: “Given the divergent statements from some EU member states, one can have doubts whether the Council decisions are all reality.””

Bild also reports that Horst Seehofer met yesterday with Merkel and described her plans as “meaningless and ineffective”.

Motivated by fear

So it’s possible a breakup of the CDU/CSU alliance happens today or tomorrow.

But I suspect fear of the fallout from the break up of the coalition may concentrate the minds of the CSU leaders.

Much like the greater fear of a Corbyn government staying the hand of the UK’s Conservative Party Brexiters…

Update July 2

CSU party officials have reported that Horst Seehofer is offering his resignation as Interior Minister and and CSU party chair.

However, the picture is not as one dimensional as is being reported .

After the CSU meeting finished early this morning Seehofer told reporters:

“We’ll talk again tomorrow. In the interest of this country and the capacity of our coalition and government – which we want to preserve – we want to try to unite in this central question of border control and rejection, on this question alone. And I hope that succeeds….”

Seehofer playing hard ball

It could be that Seehofer is playing hard ball to pull his party into line and apply pressure on Merkel. His resignation proposal was one of three options he put to the meeting.

The mixed reaction from the CSU to Merkel’s ‘concessions’ from the EU shows a lot of division within the party. So, if Seehofer does follow through on his threat it doesn’t necessarily follow that the CSU quits the coalition.

The next two or three days will be quite bumpy. There’s a lot of contradicting statements flying about, reflecting the jostling and in-fighting within the coalition.

Update July 3

And so it came to pass.

Yesterday’s update painted a more nuanced picture of Horst Seehofer’s approach. It did turn out he was playing hard ball to wring more concessions from his party and Merkel.

However, Horst Seehofer’s ‘win’ may be a double edged sword, give legitimacy to AfD’s demands on immigration and giving them a boost in Bavaria’s state elections in October.

This whole episodes exposes the divisions within the coalition parties as well as the coalition itself.

It also raises the real question of whether the coalition survives the year in it present form…