Now German Hard-Liners Want to Close Their Borders, Too
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer of Germany left, is leading a mutiny inside Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc that could bring down the governing coalition and the chancellor herself.CreditJohn Macdougall/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
By Katrin Bennhold
June 15, 2018
BERLIN — The populist surge that has left Hungary, Austria and Italy threatening to close their borders to migrants has now spread to Germany, where it could even bring down Chancellor Angela Merkel and further unhinge Europe Union’s cohesion and stability.
This week, Ms. Merkel has faced an increasingly virulent mutiny over the issue led by her own interior minister, Horst Seehofer, a former Bavarian premier with a towering stature and plenty of beer tent charisma, who sounds more in line with the nativist forces shaping politics in neighboring countries than with his own boss.
His region found itself on the front line of the refugee crisis in 2015, when Ms. Merkel opened the borders to hundreds of thousands of migrants who poured into Bavaria. He has long been an outspoken critic of her decision, and in recent days the two leaders have been locked in a standoff.
Like Europe’s more hard-line politicians on the right, Mr. Seehofer wants Germany to turn back at the border migrants who have no papers or who are already registered in another European country.