German Government Crisis: Seehofer Suggests Resignation
by Egri Nök
Angela Merkel’s challenger Horst Seehofer has announced his resignation from his offices as German Interior Minster and head of the CSU, if no consensus can be reached over his demand to turn away illegal migrants at the border — a demand Merkel staunchly rejects.
[Photo caption (not shown): Sunday’s CSU board meeting in Munich, photo: private/Facebook]
On June 14, Merkel had asked Seehofer give her time to negotiate “European solutions” “with the same effect [as turning away illegal migrants at the border]” at this week’s European Summit (June 26.-27.).
The summit’s results were then presented to the German public as a full success; Merkel’s “European solution” was found; all countries had made concessions to Angela Merkel. No one in the German sphere seemed to realize that the negotiations were in fact a win for the countries who opposed migration (see Orban Wins At EU Summit: No One Takes Migrants They Don’t Want). Only yesterday, (Saturday June 30), when Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland sent out memoranda refuting that they had made any resolutions with Merkel, the German public slowly began to understand that they had been fooled.
Today’s CSU board meeting lasted until late in the night. Attendees passed details to the tabloid Bild: “Seehofer unmistakably made clear what he thought of Merkel’s negotiation results in Brussels: nothing.” He called the prior evening’s discussion with Merkel on the matter “pointless and ineffective”.
In the meantime, after Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, Greece’s Yanis Varoufakis came out in strong terms about Angela Merkel’s “European Solutions”:
There is no deal really; this is a typical EU fudge. They have agreed on phrasing. They celebrated it, but this hides that there was no agreement on the substance.
They gathered in Brussels to reform the Dublin agreement, which was never designed to cope with mass migration flows. Also to resolve secondary [illegal] migration, which the CSU demanded action on and even put the Merkel’s government in jeopardy over it.
It is a complete failure of the European Union that has been packaged as a success, but that isn’t new, is it?
Around 10pm, news agencies suddenly reported that Seehofer had just resigned from his office as Interior Minister and leader of the CSU. The Süddeutsche Zeitung — Germany’s equivalent of the Guardian or the Washington Post — and state TV immediately published obituaries on Seehofer.
A board member of the CSU, however, messaged that Seehofer had not resigned but offered his resignation, to test if he had the CSU’s full support for challenging Merkel. Seehofer allegedly stated that he had three options: to give in to Merkel, which he refused; to challenge her, for which he needed the party’s support, or to resign. According to members, the CSU expressed their support.
But when Seehofer finally left the building, he told the attending press that he would resign from all offices within the next three days if no consensus on turning away illegal migrants at the border was found.
The outcome of all of this is entirely unpredictable at the moment. The way Merkel’s team are detached from reality — the majority of the population supports Seehofer’s position — reminds of the end days of the DDR, though.