Albeit not a Final one, yet. The Governor of Bavaria and head of the CSU party has issued something of an ultimatum to Angela Merkel:
Ever since German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened up the country’s borders to refugees in early September of 2015, Horst Seehofer has been using every opportunity at his disposal to voice his disagreement. As head of the Christian Social Union (CSU) party, he is not someone who can easily be shrugged off. The CSU is the Bavarian sister party to Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU). The two parties, which collectively are known simply as the “union,” have a long tradition of campaigning together ahead of general elections and of divvying up cabinet posts should the center-right end up in government, which, for the last 12 years, it has. The CSU has no chapters in any other state while the CDU has no state chapter in Bavaria.
As the rift has widened, Seehofer has begun calling that long partnership into question, even raising the possibility that his party might campaign on its own ahead of next year’s parliamentary elections and put up a CSU chancellor candidate. To avoid that eventuality, he is demanding that Merkel take clear steps toward reversing her immigration policies and adopting a ceiling on the number of refugees Germany is willing to take in, a step Merkel has refused to take, citing potential inconsistencies with the German constitution. Last week, the CSU released a paper, called “Germany Must Remain Germany,” outlining steps it would like to see taken, including the abolishment of dual citizenship and a preference for migrants from the “Christian-Western culture.”
SPIEGEL: We have examined dozens of interviews that you have given in recent months. You talk a lot about refugee policy, but one thing is constantly left ambiguous, perhaps intentionally. What concrete steps does Angela Merkel have to take before you will say: “Okay, now we’ll back off?”
Seehofer: We want a solution to the immigration problem. To do that, we first need a ceiling. We don’t want unlimited immigration like we saw last year and that’s why we need binding measures as a guarantee. When announcements are made that we are combatting the root causes of flight, then they must be combined with concrete measures. When it is said that those who don’t have a right to asylum will be sent back, then we together with the federal government must enact a detailed, binding repatriation program. We want a clear system of rules that clearly and credibly reduces immigration to a reasonable level.
SPIEGEL: So you are sticking to your demand for a hard ceiling of 200,000 immigrants per year despite its potential inconsistencies with the guaranteed fundamental right to asylum?
Seehofer: Yes. We want a policy that safeguards this ceiling. We also, by the way, already changed the constitution to make this possible 23 years ago. With the support of all parties. Our constitution does not require us to take everybody who appears at our borders and demands asylum. And when someone comes from a safe country of origin, we can immediately repatriate them. The ceiling will work and it is consistent with the constitution.
SPIEGEL: The chancellor and several other CDU politicians have repeatedly insisted that they will not accept a ceiling. If the approval of such a ceiling is the prerequisite for an agreement, then there won’t be any agreement.
Seehofer: We’ll see. We will not back away from the 200,000 ceiling. It’s about our credibility, plain and simple.
SPIEGEL: Given that anything seems possible at this point, is a situation conceivable whereby the CDU enters the campaign with Merkel as its candidate for chancellor and the CSU says: We won’t support her?
Seehofer: We as a party will make personnel decisions in the first quarter of 2017. German history is full of serious mistakes pertaining to premature personnel decisions.
SPIEGEL: Last weekend, CSU leaders presented a paper containing the party’s refugee policy demands and it is full of odd sentences. Such as this one: “We are opposed to our cosmopolitan country being changed by immigration or refugee flows.” How cosmopolitan can a country be if it doesn’t want to be changed by immigration?
Seehofer: The paper’s title is: “Germany Must Remain Germany.” The chancellor has used almost the exact same formulation. When she says it, it’s considered liberal and future oriented. When we say it, it’s seen as reactionary and backwards.
SPIEGEL: Merkel never said that immigration cannot be allowed to change the country.
Seehofer: Look, Bavaria is a dynamic, cosmopolitan state. Those who don’t adapt fall behind. But we need ground rules. In every governmental speech I give before state parliament, I say: Bavaria will remain Bavaria. That’s not a contradiction.
SPIEGEL: Another question about your paper: In rejecting dual citizenship, the paper says that it is impossible to “serve two masters.” We always thought that it wasn’t citizens who served their state, but the other way around.
Seehofer: You aren’t asking why we are opposed to dual citizenship. Instead, you are quibbling over locution. The sentence is true and completely okay. I am allergic to this paternalism and censorship.
I thought it was particularly interesting that DER SPIEGEL was particularly interested in undermining the CSU demand for banning dual citizenship. Dual citizenship is one of the least defensible aspects of globalism, so it is something of a weak link that nationalists will do well to attack.
Notice that despite the headlines and the various outrages, the German establishment is considerably to the right of the the American establishment on immigration. Seehofer is openly saying things even Donald Trump wouldn’t dare, and he’s not only an elected politician, he’s one of the most powerful men in the country. And he’s a moderate compared to AfD.