This week, the German government nearly collapsed over its position on migration, as Angela Merkel’s CDU-CSU stood off against the xenophobic far-right in Germany and across the European continent.
In the past year alone, the movement to entrench Fortress Europe has grown dramatically. In December 2017, rising star of the centre-right Sebstian Kurz entered into coalition with the far-right, anti-immigration Freedom Party (FPÖ). Two weeks later Victor Orban, the voice of unwavering close-door migration policy, paid a much-noted visit to members of Merkel’s Bavarian sister-party. It was a symbolic visit, suggesting unity in their tough stance on migration. Finally, in the beginning of this month, the Italian far-right party Lega entered government in Italy. Meanwhile, back in Germany, the opposition Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has been putting pressure on government to tighten its stance on migration.
This coalition of far-right forces appears as a “new axis” in Europe, united in the effort to stop migrants at the outer borders of Europe. The Aquarius, a vessel carrying more than 600 migrants was refused to enter Italy’s ports — despite the effort of Naples mayor and DiEM25 Advisor Luigi di Magistris to welcome them. Valencia jumped in last minute allowing the Aquarius to moor.
Sebastian Kurz now calls for a “coalition of the willing” comprised of Vienna, Rome and Berlin to keep migrants out of Europe. Germany’s minister of interior Horst Seehofer showed his full support and suggests to close the German borders to migrants already registered in other European countries. This is causing an internal split between Merkel’s softer stance on migration and Seehofer’s threat mutiny against her.
Seehofer’s successor and colleague Markus Söder — reigning over Bavarian politics — tweeted that “asylum tourism has to stop. Germany mustn’t wait for Europe indefinitely, but has to act on its own.” These words, it should be noted, accompany Seehofer’s close contact with Italian minister of interior Matteo Salvini, who is “fully in tune” on the issue.
In Germany, then, we have a showdown. Even if the matter looks settled for the moment, it is almost certain that this new “coalition of the willing” will strike again.
DiEM25 proposes mutual recognition of asylum decisions and swift transfer of protection statuses within the EU. We believe that we must do everything we can to fight the “coalition of the willing,” which plays politics with human lives, and stand up for solidarity. Join us.
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