Germany's Merkel May Be in Trouble

The chancellor is being hit by friendly fire over immigration
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 17, 2018 4:00 PM CDT
Updated Jun 18, 2018 4:03 AM CDT
Infighting Over Immigration Threatens Germany's Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg   (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

The bitter battle over immigration that's been brewing in Germany since Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the country's borders to Syrian refugees is pitting some within the leader's ranks against her. According to the Atlantic, Merkel's own interior minister, Horst Seehofer, drew up plans that would turn back migrants who've already applied for asylum elsewhere in the European Union. Merkel struck down the plan and is now facing backlash from Seehofer, whose center-right Christian Social Union party holds a leadership meeting Monday that could authorize Seehofer to push through his demand, per the AP. If he actually does so unilaterally in defiance of the chancellor, many observers believe Merkel would likely have to fire him—which in turn could effectively end her current governing coalition and the conservative parties' decades-old alliance in national politics.

Merkel, meanwhile, is trying to make sure migration is seen as a problem for all of Europe, not just Germany. The chancellor has pointed to a June 28 to 29 EU summit at which migration will be a key topic as she insists on holding talks with other countries about it. Migration "is a European challenge that needs a European answer," she said in her weekly video message Saturday. "I think this issue is one of the most decisive for the cohesion of Europe." However it ends, the spat has laid bare the limits of Merkel's authority in a fractious government that took office in March after nearly six months of post-election haggling. However, as Bloomberg notes, the difficult coming-together may be what helps save Merkel in the end as her interior minister's party seeks to fend off harder-line anti-immigration rivals who could use the infighting to their advantage. (More Angela Merkel stories.)

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