Will upper limit help Merkel win back voters?
With the coalition talks about to begin the conservative Union parties have reached a compromise on refugee policy: in future Germany will take in a maximum of 200,000 people per year based on humanitarian reasons. For some commentators Merkel's decision to accept an upper limit is understandable. Others point out that it could hinder the formation of a new government.
More leeway for a new government?
The agreement on an upper limit doesn't exactly come as a surprise, writes Delo:
“Angela Merkel has understood that other European states won't stand by her on helping refugees, and therefore once the AfD moves into the German parliament she will first of all try to save the stability and prosperity of her own country. The sexual assaults and terrorist attacks by migrants have left too many people uneasy and the German losers of globalisation believe the state should help them first. ... The agreement on immigration policy will perhaps give Angela Merkel's new government more leeway to face the challenges of globalisation: digitalisation, keeping the German economic motor humming and preserving a Europe of peace and prosperity.”
A gesture to conservative voters
The agreement painstakingly worked out by the CDU and CSU is at best a compromise, Pravda comments:
“The formation of a new government in Berlin will stand or fall over this problem. Yes, Merkel's right in saying that there is no upper limit to German asylum law. Until now, however, she's made no mention of the fact that what's needed is a gesture to conservative voters who turned their backs on the CDU/CSU in the election. ... Only two times in history have more than 200,000 refugees reached Germany in a single year: during the Yugoslavia crisis and in 2015/2016. In demographic terms, however, Germany needs 400,000 qualified immigrants per year. Humanity and the economy go hand in hand here.”
CDU/CSU must not neglect the centre
The Union has paved the way for coalition talks with this compromise but it shouldn't start celebrating yet, NRC Handelsblad's Germany correspondent Juurd Eijsvoogel writes:
“This is not the end of the Union parties' problems. The CSU, which had its worst results in more than 60 years in the last elections, wants to reinvent itself with a markedly more conservative profile. ... Just like the CDU and the SPD, the Bavarian party is finding it increasingly difficult to remain a catch-all party. In other words, to represent various social groups. If the CSU and the CDU shift to the right after their disappointing results in the most recent elections, they may win back AfD voters. But then they risk losing voters in the centre.”
An unpalatable deal for the Greens
The last word on the upper limit hasn't been said yet, Lidové noviny points out:
“The CSU has the number it wanted. And the chancellor can rest assured that the right to asylum will remain intact. Is this a revolution? For now it's just an agreement between the CDU and the CSU. For it to become a revolution this deal must receive the blessing of the future coalition, including the Greens. On the issue of asylum law they cite the first article of the German constitution, which states that human dignity is inviolable. That sounds great, but in practice it means that today up to five billion people may be entitled to protection in Germany. ... If the coalition agreement is presented to the Green voter base for approval don't bet a single koruna on the result.”