'German migration deal is a stopgap measure, problem will come up again soon'
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has narrowly managed to patch things up with her partners in a three-month-old coalition government which seemed close to collapse. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, a key member of the coalition, said that a compromise on migration policies was reached and he would not resign.
“After intensive discussions between the CDU and CSU we have reached an agreement on how we can in future prevent illegal immigration on the border between Germany and Austria,” he said on Monday.
George Szamuely, senior research fellow at the Global Policy Institute of London, believes the agreement is just a temporary fix that will not last long.
RT: Though now Merkel’s conservative coalition partner, Horst Seehofer, says they have reached a compromise, will migration critics be satisfied with this deal? Could this issue come back to haunt the coalition again?
George Szamuely: I am sure it will. Because this agreement really doesn’t address any of the serious problems. Because what Merkel is suggesting is that these migrants are going to be sent back to the countries where they first registered as asylum seekers. Well, who is going to take them back? Greece isn’t going to take them back. Greece is already just overwhelmed by the problem. Italy has already said that they are not going to take them. This new government is absolutely adamant that they are not going to take any. Spain is very unhappy about this. France is also very unhappy about this. It is very unlikely that this is going to work. So, I think this is just simply a temporary stopgap measure and the issue will come up again probably in the next few months.
… In any case, you can’t send asylum seekers back home because the home countries aren’t going to take them. They are going to leave that as a problem for Germany. Germany kind of started this whole problem, particularly, Merkel, with her open-ended invitation in 2015. Most countries look upon it the same: “This is your problem, you solve it. We are not going to help you solve it.”
It is quite questionable whether this compromise is a real solution for the migration problem. Because it only refers to those asylum seekers who want to cross the borders towards Germany and for whom other countries in the EU will be responsible. But if we look at the situation, for example, in Italy we can see that tens of thousands of migrants or refugees have never been registered there. – Rainer Rothfuss, geopolitical analyst and consultant
RT: What about the other wing of the coalition, the SPD? Do you expect them to support this compromise?
GS: I think they probably will support it, more or less. They might want a little bit of adjustment. But they don’t really have any terribly coherent policy on all of this. Generally, they are a little bit friendlier toward the migrants than the conservatives… What is really interesting is the view of the CSU, which is Seehofer, because they are very concerned about the rise of the AfD party (Alternative for Germany) – the right-wing anti-immigrant party – because they are the coming force in Germany. Whatever goes on within the government, it will be with a view to head off this potential electoral crisis they are facing at the hands of the AfD.
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