Merkel-Seehofer row: crisis overcome?

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) and Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) have buried the hatchet in their row over asylum: "Transit centres" are to be set up on the German-Austrian border to prevent asylum seekers already registered in other countries from entering Germany and send them back to the responsible country. Europe's press sees the crisis as having done grave harm despite ending in an agreement.

Open/close all quotes (PL) /

The basis for trust has been destroyed

For the bitter row has produced nothing but losers:

“Even if it may look like Seehofer is the big loser of the coalition drama of the past two weeks, Merkel has no reason to be happy either. After just 100 days of joint government, the Christian Democrats are on the brink of collapse. The chancellor has had to face the fact that she was so weak that she could no longer bring her EU partners to accept the solutions that she wanted, and that the trust that forms the basis of a stable coalition has been irretrievably lost. ... The bottom line is that this coalition has had it, although it may take several months - or years - for it to finally collapse.”

hvg (HU) /

Just a temporary victory

For the weekly magazine hvg there is still grounds for conflict:

“The differences of opinion between Merkel and Seehofer are nothing new. The Bavarian politician had already condemned the chancellor's refugee policy in 2015. At the end of that year he recommended that no more than 200,000 refugees be allowed to enter Germany, and he kept on voicing his opposition as that number rose to almost a million. ... The current agreement owes much to the fact that Merkel has been able to isolate Seehofer within his own party.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Germany's traditional parties severely weakened

It will be a long time before Germany's established parties recover from the Merkel-Seehofer row, Der Standard predicts:

“If the CDU/CSU had wanted a lesson in just how difficult it is to recover after an internal party conflict, it could have taken a lesson from the Social Democrats. They still haven't got over the drama over Martin Schulz, they seem sapped of energy and are unable to improve their performance in the polls. So after these chaotic days in Berlin and Munich one comes to the sad conclusion: although they continue to see themselves as established parties, all three are severely weakened. This kind of thing is hard to shake. It will be a long time before they recover from these unbelievable incidents and the bitter asylum dispute.”

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

The people long for a return to normality

Lidové noviny doubts that people will be satisfied with the compromise:

“Whether it's Seehofer or Merkel who emerges from this row as the winner - the majority of Germans will no doubt remain dissatisfied. They want Merkel to stay but to apply Seehofer's ideas. According to the polls a majority of Germans don't see anything bad about border crossings being subject to laws again after three years. They'd see it as a return to normality. The days when the debate was determined by slogans according to which borders were 'no more than a line on a map', migration 'can't be stopped', and everyone 'will have to get used to that' are over.”

Daily Sabah (TR) /

Join forces with Muslims against the far right

The solution to Europe's problems does not lie in reinforcing boundaries but in strengthening ties between Christians and Muslims, Daily Sabah writes:

“The Christian Social Union (CSU) in Bavaria is in a state of panic ahead of the Bavarian state election to be held on Oct. 14. .... The name and identity of the party is in stark contrast with its approach to the refugee issue. ... For the future of the European continent, it is crucial for the Christian and social democrats, greens and liberals to side with Muslims and Turks and receive their support. Christian and Muslim democrats have to be the guarantors of democracy in Europe. The solidarity of Europeans against the threats posed by racists and far-right radicals is of vital importance.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Radicalised CSU rocking all of Europe

The CSU is holding the German government hostage, the Tages-Anzeiger complains:

“No one knows how effective the measures promised by Merkel will be. But even the critics of her asylum policy in her own party believe the CSU can't reject her offer on this issue. However, precisely this is probably the core of the problem: a 'Merkel must go' brand of radicalism that used to be the signature tune of the Alternative for Germany party has spread within the CSU. It's crazy enough that a pretty small German regional party has been able to take the German government hostage like this. The consequences could extend way beyond this issue and not only shatter the biggest country at the heart of Europe but the entire EU.”

ABC (ES) /

Rebellion out of fear of AfD

With his behaviour Seehofer is weakening not just Merkel but all Europe, ABC criticises:

“The numbers are clear. There is no avalanche of refugees, certainly not compared to 2015. ... What there is is a political crisis. ... Merkel is the first victim. The Bavarian CSU is rebelling because for the first time it sees its hegemony under threat - by the nationalists of the AfD. In actual fact it's Horst Seehofer, the leader of the CSU and German Interior Minister who tended his resignation yesterday, who has problems. He wants to transfer them to Berlin and Brussels, but by doing so he is legitimising the AfD's demands for a 'hard hand'. ... Seehofer is aggravating the problem instead of resolving it sensibly. Merkel is being further weakened, as is Europe, which needs a strong government in Berlin.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Conservatives swallowed up by far right

Merkel won't be able to hold out much longer against the strong reactionary forces in Europe, Brussels correspondent of La Repubblica Andrea Bonanni fears:

“In a Europe that has radically shifted to the right, Merkel has lost her central political position. ... She is no longer the reference for a moderate and democratic European right, for the simple reason that in Europe and in Italy the right has been swallowed up by far more radical reactionary forces. This process has developed both outside and inside the EPP (Orbán, Seehofer and the Austrian prime minister all belong to the European People's Party), and what was once the party of Kohl, De Gasperia and Moro has failed to find a political or cultural basis to stop this shift to the right.”