The End of Merkel? Open-Door Migrant Policy Sends Coalition Running for the Exits
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing an unprecedented political crisis that could upend her image as the “new leader of the west” after the Free Democrats (FDP) abruptly pulled out of negotiations with Merkel’s conservative bloc and the Greens.
Responses to the failed negotiations were immediate. The euro plunged to a 2-month low against the yen, and a planned meeting between Merkel and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte was cancelled “in view of the political development last night,” according to German government spokesman Steffen Seibert.
Merkel won a fourth term as chancellor in September’s national Bundestag election, but her own party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), and its Bavarian ally the Christian Social Union (CSU), lost 65 seats between them — their worst showing in decades.
With her own conservative bloc unable to command a majority in parliament, Merkel attempted to forge a so-called ‘Jamaica’ coalition with the pro-business FDP and the progressive Green Party.
But after more than four weeks of negotiations, FDP leader Christian Lindner announced on Sunday that his party was withdrawing from the proposed political alliance, citing irreconcilable differences between the would-be coalition partners.
Migrant crisis lays waste to Merkel’s coalition
Disagreements over climate, energy, and monetary policy required difficult compromises — but “the elephant in the room”that made the Jamaica coalition untenable is Germany’s migrant crisis, Maximilian Krah, a former CDU politician, told RT.
“The migrant issue is the main issue in the whole of Germany,” Krah insisted. “Whenever you go into private discussions, that’s the issue. But political correctness prevents the German public from debating it openly,” he said.
“If you read the declaration of the liberals when they broke up the coalition talks yesterday night, the migrant crisis was just one word among a lot of others but no one believes that they broke up because [of] the debate on ‘Industry 4.0’ or digital industry.”
Since 2015, over 1 million refugees have flooded into Germany from the Middle East and North Africa. Merkel’s uncompromising open door policy towards migrants galvanized Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which scooped up 13 percent of the vote in September’s election.
Frank Hansel, a member of German parliament from AfD, told RT that Merkel’s unwillingness to change course led to the downfall of her proposed majority coalition — and ushers in the “end of the Merkel era.”
“She was not able or capable or willing to change her policies regarding the euro crisis which still divides Europe", Hansel said of Merkel. “She was not willing to change her policy regarding the illegal mass migration. So this really had to come to an end. The Jamaica government will never come into existence.”