The current German government crisis has three reasons. The least important is the personal chemistry and longstanding political competition between Bavarian ex-prime minister Horst Seehofer, turned federal Home Secretary in the present federal government in spring – and a truly strong international player, chancellor Angela Merkel.
Next in line is the mass influx of migrants from the Middle East and Africa, leaving behind tough conditions in various camps in Turkey, Lebanon and the North African shoreline of the Mediterranean Sea. In Germany they are called “refugees” by the big mass media, but in fact they are economic migrants.
Main background of the actual crisis however, is the opposition party AfD (Alternative for Germany), which is profiting strongly from a growing unwillingness of many Germans, to accept a continuous influx of hundreds of thousands of people, mostly young men with cultural backgrounds widely different from the Central European range.
This comes to no surprise: since 2015 Germany has accepted around two million new inhabitants, with 300’000 of them roaming around freely and unregistered – and police sources estimating 100’000 trained militia and violent radicals, potential offenders posing a threat to public safety (“Gefährder”). Germany spent around 22 bln Euro on accommodating migrants in 2016 alone, 2017 even more – which adds to political unrest and feeds the political opposition.
Crises and scandals in the responsible federal migration office (“BAMF”) have aggravated the situation. Unknown to (too) many observers are the following facts:
AfD was founded by heavy initial donations from both CDU (Christian Democrats) and FDP (Free Democrats) sympathizers. This is a clever chessboard move to establish a political party unable to form a coalition with any other party in Germany except the CDU. AfD therefore should be correctly regarded as a kind of “Merkel’s strategic reserve” to the conservative sister parties, CDU and Bavarian CSU. AfD was set up to make sure, that opposition projects such as diminishing the overwhelming political influence of the financial sector, could not easily get a foothold in German parliament. Alice Weidel as the predominant AfD figure, with her exclusive lifelong ties to banking giant Goldman Sachs, appears as personalized guarantee for this roadblock to any meaningful anti-cartel system reform in Germany. „Was the refugee influx into Germany Merkel’s biggest mistake or was it the Euro crisis?“ – ran the last question this author was asked in a longer interview by a Russian TV reporter a few days ago.
Well, both truly grave problems aren’t caused by “mistake” – but are part of a bigger plan.
Another conspiracy theory? Well, hardly possible: It took nine years, from 2006 to 2015, to get millions of refugees, at first mainly Syrians, then a growing number of Africans, into camps in the vicinity of their home countries – and to a march of the millions from there into all of Europe.
The so-called “Arab Spring” was the result of 15 years of discussion on how to replace aging leaders in Arab countries. Destabilizing Libya in 2011 as an important and well-accepted roadblock to mass migration from Africa into Europe – was vital to the plan. That successful ruler and African hero Gaddhafi planned a gold-based Dinar as independent African currency added up to his early demise. Syria’s troubles add a truly dangerous regional aspect, wherein Israel’s escalation of the Palestinian issue figures as just one issue of several.
As to the Euro, this project glued together a bunch of countries, so widely different in economics and socio-political framework, that it was unable to stand from its very beginning. Well-read observers remember, that the bandwidth of EU currency exchange floating was tripled in the last three years before the Euro took over – not really a trust-building decision, but necessary, because exchange rates had been re-tuned 17 times within 13 years: Europe was never ready for the Euro.
But Germany was due to give up the super-stable D-Mark in the process of regaining national unity. The Soviet Union’s conditions for this lofty goal were decidedly friendlier. What is worst: whenever financial crises worsen, war appears as the number one solution to keep people from questioning their financial and monetary system, the latter enshrining the overblown US-Dollar as a global lead currency – soon to be de-throned.
Back to the German theatre: AfD reached 12.6% in the 2017 federal election, polls rate it now at 15%, with Merkel’s government coalition partners suffering directly. But hardest pressed is the traditional ruling party CSU, Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s CDU, which is facing state elections in mid-October – and stands to lose its absolute majority in a landslide outcome, reaching barely 40%.
Since Bavaria is still suffering most from the migrant influx of the years 2015 and 2016 via its southern neighbor Austria, today still taking in refugees crossing its border, the problem appears as top decisive single issue in the ongoing Bavarian election campaign.
Thus the ruling CSU acted under heavy pressure, from within the party as much as by competitors such as AfD, when outgoing party head Seehofer pressed for steps to stem the (already much-reduced) migrant tide on the Bavarian border.
Seehofer troubles Merkel since 2015 to help solve the Bavarian crisis, escalating the quarrel – which Merkel wanted to solve at the European level. Seehofer then put Merkel a fortnight’s deadline, which was met in the early morning hours last Friday in Brussels after a stormy EU summit meeting. The compromise final protocol is still not open to public viewing, but outlines emerged in press conferences: The EU will foster refugee camps outside the EU to take in the migrants, inside the EU closed camps may be set up – and the FRONTEX company guarding the Mediterranean Sea against irregular vessels of all sorts, carrying migrants to EU shores, will be bolstered from 2020. All fine print is yet missing, substance therefore questionable.
This compromise bears one basic mark, which is interesting to put to closer scrutiny. All three measures mentioned above are likely to become fully effective only in 2019 or 2020 – when elections in France and Germany are due. Little was done to accommodate actual needs – such as from Bavaria.
Seehofer then pressed Merkel over the weekend to grant Bavarian authorities to reject those migrants on the German-Austria border, which had been registered already in other countries – and accommodate them in “transit camps” on Austrian soil. He raised political pressure by announcing to step down from his federal office. That shook the German government to the core. Opposition, especially AfD, asked Seehofer to step down or for dismissal by Merkel or even new federal election – all measures being highly improbable at a time, when only AfD would profit strongly. Coalition partner SPD (Social Democrats) is still haggling about the fine print of the compromise reached on Monday, their consent will come at a price to Merkel’s rule. But nobody seems eager to bring down the present government and aggravate the lingering crisis. Remaining issues may be solved in the leader meeting of ruling CDU-SPD coalition by Thursday.
Little is certain – but this much stands: Merkel’s presumably last tenure as Germany’s chancellor will be her least comfortable. Migration and currency/finance system crises add up to foster harsh scenarios – Russia-bashing serving as welcome distraction.