Integrate or leave: Merkel’s Bavaria allies want ‘dominant’ German-Christian values enshrined in law

© Fabrizio Bensch
The Bavarian ruling party and Merkel’s ally CSU has proposed a set of new measures aimed at toughening Germany’s refugee policy and fostering integration and particularly called for enshrining the priority of the German traditional and Christian values in the legislation.

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“Germany must stay Germany,” says the document by the Christian Social Union party (CSU), which was published by the Bavarian Kurier daily. “We are against our open-to-the-world country being changed through migration and inflow of refugees,” it adds, emphasizing that “it is not the Germans, who should look up to the refugees…” but, on the contrary those who come to Germany should adopt German culture.

The paper also lashes out at the multi-culturalism policy advocated by Merkel. It proposes to introduce a “dominant culture” (Leitkultur) rule in Bavaria that would mean the opposite to multi-culturalism and would encompass all the German traditional national and Christian values as well as customs and traditions.

Such dominant, or “guiding” culture, the paper says, should become the basis of social development and integration. It calls it “the best countermeasure against the [creation of] parallel societies and ghettos” demanding to enshrine the particular set of values in the Bavarian Constitution.

The document also calls for an introduction of an annual upper limit for new arrivals that would amount to 200,000 people, citing the necessity to curb the massive refugee influx to facilitate successful integration.

It also says that Germany should favor migrants and refugees with “Christian western culture,” which is close to the European values.

The paper also advocates the re-introduction of full border controls on the German borders “as long as [the system] of protection of the EU external borders does not function,” stressing that the nation “should not tolerate illegal border crossings.”

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At the same time, the paper says that only those who are granted entry should be able to come to Germany with all asylum requests being processed directly at the border in specially established “transit zones.” The document also points out that those who are denied entry should be sent back directly at the border.

‘Find another country to wear burqa’

The CSU policy paper also advocates stricter integration rules and says that integration is a duty of those who come to live in Germany. It particularly calls burqa and niqab “a uniform of Islamism, an absolute barrier to integration and a symbol of the repression of women that is unacceptable in [German] culture.”

“Those, who do not want to give up wearing burqa and niqab, should find another country,” the paper says, adding that the CSU will seek “a ban on burqa in all public places, wherever it is legally possible.”

The document also says that any forms of “parallel justice” and “erosion of the German system of justice,” including unofficial Muslim sharia courts, child marriages, forced marriages and polygamy, are unaccepted and should be by no means tolerated.

The paper adds that Germany also should not “tolerate immigration into its welfare system,” emphasizing that refugees and migrants must provide for living themselves instead of just getting social benefits.

Another point of the CSU is that asylum does not equals to a “permit for committing crimes in Germany” and those found guilty of committing any crimes should automatically lose their right for asylum and be sent out.

‘One cannot be servant of two masters’

The issue of double citizenship is particularly highlighted in the new CSU policy paper, which refers to it as a huge barrier to integration that leads to “double loyalty.” 

“One cannot be a servant of two masters,” the paper says, adding that “those who want to be Germans do not need any other citizenship.” The paper demands an end to dual citizenship as well as an annulation of the regulation that allowed the children of non-German citizens, who were born on German soil and lived in Germany for a long time, to be automatically recognized as Germans.

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The CSU also expressed its opposition to the idea of visa liberalization for Turkish citizens and criticized Turkey for “moving away from European and western values” as well as for not fulfilling the necessary requirements for visa liberalization. It also said that the implementation of the refugee deal between Turkey and the EU should not be linked to some “unrelated issues, such as visa liberalization or Turkey’s accession to the EU.”

‘Irresponsible’ and ‘racist’

The document immediately provoked a wave of indignation among German left-wing politicians, who labeled it “irresponsible” and “racist.” Some of them said that it is highly reminiscent of what the right-wing populist party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), demands.

The Green Party leader, Simone Peter, said that the CSU was apparently seeking to become “the Bavarian sister party of the AfD.” At the moment, CSU is commonly referred to as the sister party of the Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), with both parties sharing the common origin and core program. The CDU does not operate in Bavaria while being present in all other 15 German states.

Jan Korte, an MP from the Left Party, denounced the new policy paper of the CSU as “irresponsible, backward-looking and brimming with hypocrisy.” He also called the idea of selecting migrants by cultural background “racist” and a violation of the German constitution and international human rights conventions.

The new policy paper comes after the electoral success of the right-wing populist and anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), which beat Merkel’s CDU in several regional elections a year before the national elections to the parliament.

On September 4, the AfD placed second in state elections, ahead of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in her home state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Established in 2013 following the euro crisis, the AfD is already represented in eight out of 16 state parliaments.

Horst Seehofer, the leader of the conservative CSU, has long criticized Angela Merkel’s open-door policy and earlier already proposed to introduce a cap of 200,000 refugees pro year.

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Seehofer, who is also the head of the German state of Bavaria, which is a transit region for the vast majority of all asylum seekers arriving in Germany, several times threatened to take the German Chancellor to the Constitutional Court if she fails to change the country’s refugee policy.