Hanging On As Merkel Chancellor Threatened.

All of Europe is currently on hold — and holding its breath. Business as usual is at a standstill, even though the EU is mired in its deepest crisis since its founding and other urgent matters, like a trade war with the US, are begging for redress.

Why Then?

Because the German state of Bavaria has a regional election scheduled for mid-October.
It may sound absurd — and indeed it is — but Bavaria’s conservative party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), which has ruled in Bavaria since 1949, is panicked that it might lose the absolute majority in its southern German stronghold. Polls show it kilometers ahead of all of the opposition parties — and thus a given to win and remain in office — but this time around in need of a junior coalition partner, perhaps the Greens or the Liberals, to constitute a majority.
The CSU is in this unfamiliar but not-so-desperate position because Germany’s own far right party, the xenophobic Alternative for Germany, or AfD, is cutting into its traditional constituencies. In the 2017 general election, the AfD, running for the first time nationally, took 10% of the Bavarian vote and the CSU dropped by 10%, capturing 39% of the vote.
In order to win back its stray sheep, the CSU has responded in exactly the wrong way, namely by loudly championing all of the far right’s causes: anti-immigration, the security state, militarized EU borders, racial profiling, and Germany-first economics. The CSU, for example, objects to Germany giving even an inch in reforming the eurozone along the lines favored by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Just as Austria’s conservatives in the 1990s foolheartedly played into the court of its far right, thus lending it legitimacy and voters, the CSU is throwing fuel on the fire in Germany. The more it apes the AfD, the larger the far-right party grows. Currently in the polls the AfD is at 13.5% in Bavaria and 16% nationally, all-time highs.
All of this would hardly matter to people beyond the Alps if the CSU were not a member of Merkel’s shaky center-left government, the far right was not on the rise across Europe, and the EU was not at odds with itself. Moreover, the CSU’s stubborn, demagogic campaign has given the Trump administration opportunity to effectively intervene in German politics on behalf of the far right, another step toward upending the postwar transatlantic alliance, until now the bedrock of Atlantic security since 1945.
Hanging On As Merkel Chancellor Threatened
 Hanging On As Merkel Chancellor Threatened
Now, this does matter as it is a highly precarious, wholly unprecedented state of affairs, which could well unseat German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who looks weaker than ever before. That would leave Macron the lone heavyweight standing for liberal values in Europe.
In its lurch to the far right, the CSU has not been attacking the AfD, as one might expect, but rather Angela Merkel personally and the center-left government, of which it is part. The CSU’s most vocal antagonist — there are several in the chorus — is Horst Seehofer, a lumbering, straight-faced bear of a man, who is Merkel’s interior minister, as well as head of the CSU.
Topic number one in the nasty, public internecine wrangle between Merkel and the CSU is Germany’s refugee policy, which the Bavarians have prioritized because the AfD and its hard-right European allies have. Merkel’s detractors assert that Germany is being overrun with refugees of Islamic faith who pose a danger to the security of ordinary Germans and a threat to western civilization as such. This is the same line propagated by Central Europe’s strongmen in office in Poland, Hungary, and Austria, as well as the Trump administration and now Italy too. (One difference, though, the CSU is not for Germany taking zero asylum seekers, but a limited number.)
In fact, Germany’s intake of asylum seekers has plummeted since 2015, when nearly a million refugees, most fleeing Syria’s war, arrived in an unprepared Germany. This year, less than 50,000 (as of April) have applied for political asylum, the reduced number a result of Merkel’s imposition of ever stricter policies and other contingencies.
Thus, there is no refugee crisis in Germany as there is in countries such as Turkey, Pakistan and Lebanon where many millions of refugees reside. Italy and Greece are the European countries on the frontlines, but they’re getting scant help from Germany or any other EU countries.
The dust-up in Germany thus is symbolic, although there’s nothing figurative about the CSU’s unswerving onslaught against Merkel since 2015. Seehofer’s most recent bugbear is Germany’s acceptance of refugees at its border who either don’t have papers of any kind or who have already applied for political asylum in another country. Again, the numbers of such persons coming to Germany is really quite small, and Germany is, as every EU state is, required by international law to accept people fleeing political persecution.
Merkel and the rest of the German government insist on an all-EU solution to refugees and immigration — as they have for years. Seehofer, Germany’s interior minister, has audaciously tried to pressure Merkel, saying either she and the other EU nations devise a solution or he closes Bavaria’s borders.
EU leaders have thus agreed to an emergency mini-summit in Brussels this weekend to throw Merkel a lifeline. The problem, however, is that most EU countries object to a proportional distribution of asylum applicants, which is Merkel’s wish — and rightly so. The numbers of refugees per country would be tiny if every EU country would take their share according to population size.
But no. And the Central Europeans aren’t the only ones who dig in their heels.
Merkel’s further option is to reassert the primacy of the EU’s so-called Dublin IIregulation for asylum applicants, which means that refugees can only apply for asylum in the EU country that they enter — and then must remain there until a decision is made on their status.
Of course, this raises hackles in frontline states Greece and Italy, which feel swamped with refugees out of Africa and the Middle East. This completely unfair status quo is one of the explanations for Italy’s far right coming to power there.


  1. 558710 562172In case you happen to excited about eco items, sometimes be tough shock to anyone them recognise that to assist make special baskets just for this quite liquids carry basic steps liters associated ceiling fan oil producing. dc free of charge mommy weblog giveaways family trip home gardening house power wash baby laundry detergent 507291

  2. 157504 682337Hi. Cool post. Theres an concern together with your site in chrome, and you could want to test this The browser could be the marketplace chief and a great element of folks will omit your excellent writing because of this problem. 399876

  3. 254302 943849Hey, you used to write great, but the last several posts have been kinda boringK I miss your tremendous writings. Past several posts are just a bit out of track! come on! 564672

  4. I loved as much as you’ll receive carried out right here. The sketch is tasteful, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an edginess over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come more formerly again as exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this increase.

  5. Great beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your website, how can i subscribe for a blog site? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear idea

  6. I have not checked in here for a while because I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are great quality so I guess I will add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

  7. What i don’t realize is if truth be told how you are not really much more well-favored than you might be now. You’re so intelligent. You understand thus considerably on the subject of this matter, produced me personally believe it from numerous numerous angles. Its like women and men are not interested except it is one thing to accomplish with Woman gaga! Your personal stuffs outstanding. All the time take care of it up!

  8. There a few intriguing points in time in this post but I do not know if every one of them center to heart. You can find some validity but I’ll take hold opinion until I explore it further. Excellent article , thanks so we want more! Combined with FeedBurner too

  9. I will immediately grab your rss as I can not to find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly allow me realize so that I may subscribe. Thanks.

  10. Thank you for another informative website. The place else could I am getting that type of information written in such an ideal way? I’ve a project that I am just now working on, and I’ve been at the look out for such information.

  11. I think this is one of the most important information for me. And i’m glad reading your article. But want to remark on some general things, The website style is great, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers

  12. I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly. I am quite certain I will learn many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

  13. Hi there, just become alert to your blog through Google, and found that it’s truly informative. I am going to be careful for brussels. I will appreciate if you happen to continue this in future. A lot of other people will probably be benefited from your writing. Cheers!|


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here