Merkel's Bavarian Ally Eyes Collision Course Over Refugees

  • CSU party said to defy Merkel with call for Syrian asylum cap
  • Clash revives internal conflict before Merkel speech next week

German Chancellor Angela Merkel may get an earful for her open-door refugee policy when she visits her Bavarian political allies next week.

The Christian Social Union party, a member of the governing coalition, is refusing to back down on demands to cap the number of Syrian refugees arriving in Germany, something Merkel has repeatedly rejected. A draft resolution for a CSU convention in Munich that Merkel is scheduled to address on Nov. 20 says Germany needs to set a refugee quota, according to a copy obtained by Bloomberg.

“Germany must send out a signal now that our capacity limits have already been reached,” according to the draft. “Those who want to help everyone wind up being able to help no one in the end.”

Merkel’s domestic turmoil in the face of Germany’s biggest influx of refugees and migrants since World War II contrasts with her quest for international solutions to the crisis, including at a migration summit in Malta on Thursday. With Bavaria serving as the main entry point for the wave of refugees this year, the CSU is challenging Merkel’s stance that Germany has a moral and legal obligation to take in everyone who qualifies for asylum.

At least 800,000 asylum seekers are expected to arrive in Germany this year, according to the government, including many fleeing Syria’s civil war. CSU head Horst Seehofer, the most vocal opponent of Merkel’s refugee policy in her own party bloc, will seek another two-year term at the convention.

Lawlessness Seen 

“All countries in Europe -- including Germany -- must stop this state of lawlessness and apply the common European rules again,” according to the resolution, which cites agreements that require controls at the EU’s outer borders and the return of asylum seekers who arrive from countries deemed safe. It advocates “fixed quotas for receiving and distributing” refugees.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, a member of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union who backs her refusal to close Germany’s borders, likened the refugee crisis to an avalanche. Such events can be triggered by “a slightly careless skier,” he said.

“I don’t know whether we are already at the stage where the avalanche has
arrived in the valley below, or at the stage when it’s in the top third of the slope,” Schaeuble said during a panel discussion on Europe late Wednesday in Berlin.

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