sexta-feira, 22 de junho de 2018
Uma profunda e determinante crise na UE . Dossier
Far-right interior minister says country ready to renegotiate its financial commitments
"The aim is to protect the external border, not to share the problem among European countries but to solve the problem at the source,” Salvini said. “If anyone in the EU thinks Italy should keep being a landing point and refugee camp, they have misunderstood.”
Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome
Wed 20 Jun 2018 18.26 BST Last modified on Wed 20 Jun 2018 21.28 BST
Matteo Salvini: ‘The air in Europe is changing and we are optimistic.’ Photograph: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters
Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, is calling on the European Union to “defend its border” against migrants arriving from Africa, and suggested that Italy was ready to “renegotiate” its financial commitments to the bloc if more was not done to help Italy handle the migrant crisis.
The bombastic former radio host, who has emerged as Italy’s de facto prime minister since the arrival of the new populist government, also pointed a finger of blame at “human traffickers and do-gooders” who he said were responsible for deaths on the Mediterranean.
“The aim is to protect the external border, not to share the problem among European countries but to solve the problem at the source,” Salvini said. “If anyone in the EU thinks Italy should keep being a landing point and refugee camp, they have misunderstood.”
The remarks came as Salvini’s hardline approach against migrants – he is also calling for the expulsion of non-Italian Roma, an ethnic minority – has won the blessing of his major coalition partner, Luigi Di Maio, the head of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement.
Di Maio said he agreed with Salvini’s stance that NGOs who save migrants ought to be denied entry into Italian ports, signalling a major and possibly permanent shift in Italian policy despite legal experts saying such blocks are a violation of humanitarian laws.
“We save the migrants with our navy, with our coastguard, but the NGOs [should] go elsewhere,” Di Maio said.
The populist government’s approach could mean thousands more lives lost on the Mediterranean, where migrants seeking to make their way to Europe are already facing treacherous conditions and widespread human rights abuses.
But the Italian government suggested the wind was at its back and that its approach was winning favour in Europe. If the EU did not act, Salvini suggested that Italy was ready to take its own drastic measures.
“The air in Europe is changing and we are optimistic,” Salvini said following a meeting with his Austrian counterpart, Herbet Kickl, and the Austria vice-chancellor, Heinz Christian Strache. “We are also extremely confident about the Austrian (EU) presidency and we trust in the good sense of our European colleagues, in part because we don’t want to have to renegotiate Italian financing to the European Union.”
The issue is expected to be discussed by Salvini, Di Maio and Giuseppe Conte, the Italian prime minister, at a meeting on Wednesday. Salvini, who is traveling to Libya in the coming days, said Italy was preparing a proposal that would strengthen the EU border and curtain migration, but did not provide further details.
Salvini last week decided – in what appeared to be a unilateral decision – to block the arrival of NGO ship the Aquarius, which had more than 600 migrants on board. The move forced the Aquarius to divert its route, and the migrants were sent to Valencia in Spain.
“Spain has opened its ports, France did too. In Spain they celebrated, fine. But we could not celebrate every six hours,” Di Maio said.
Data released by the OECD shows that Italy saw a 34% drop in the number of migrants arriving in 2017 to 119,000, due in large part to a controversial deal struck between the last Italian government and the Libyan coastguard. Under the terms of the deal, Italy has helped to train Libyans to stop migrants and return them to Libya, where they have faced detention and inhumane living conditions, including rape and torture.
But despite the drop in arrivals, the populist government, which has in effect been led by Salvini since it came into power, has made the issue of migration and the expulsion of ethnic minorities a top priority. In his role as interior minister, Salvini has control over immigration, asylum and domestic security.
Salvini also said 800 people had died trying to make their way to Italy so far, and that their deaths were the fault of smugglers and “do-gooders” – a possible reference to the NGOs who rescue migrants and who have been accused of encouraging migrants to make the dangerous journey across the sea.
What is Europe’s migration fight about?
Europe can’t agree how to deal with migrants and refugees — here’s why.
By JACOPO BARIGAZZI AND JAMES RANDERSON 6/22/18, 1:24 PM CET Updated 6/22/18, 3:29 PM CET
Migration is back at the top of the political agenda in Europe. The issue is threatening to bring down the government of the EU’s richest country and tear through the European Council summit next week, but leaders seem further than ever from a solution.
Here’s POLITICO’s guide to Europe’s boiling political crisis.
Why is this news now?
Two main reasons — Italy and Germany.
Italy’s coalition government — made up of the far-right League and populist 5Star Movement — has pushed the issue to the top of their country’s, and hence the EU’s, agenda. Italy has been the landing point for the majority of migrants and its government wants more help from the rest of the Continent. It has also adopted a harder line on arrivals.
The country’s interior minister, League leader Matteo Salvini, has closed ports to the arrival of NGO vessels carrying migrants picked up in the Mediterranean Sea. One vessel, the Aquarius, which was carrying 629 migrants, was prevented from docking at Italian ports last week but eventually landed its human cargo in Spain.
Data from the Italian interior ministry show that arrivals by sea have decreased by 77 percent in the first months of the year compared to the same period in 2017.
The second reason is that the political marriage between Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and her Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, which has sustained Germany’s chancellor in power since 2005 is on the rocks over the issue — with tensions even threatening to bring down the government. The CSU wants to turn back asylum seekers arriving at the country’s southern border who have registered in another European country from entering Germany.
Such a move would reverse Merkel’s 2015 open-door policy on refugees and undermine her authority. But more importantly, by acting unilaterally, it risks a domino effect across Europe with other states opting to do the same. Merkel wants the issue to be solved at the EU level and has persuaded her CSU partners to hold off until leaders meet at the European Council summit on Thursday and Friday next week. Leaders from countries most affected by the migration crisis will also attempt to make progress at a “mini summit” on Sunday that was called by the European Commission at Merkel’s request.
This is all in response to the migration crisis, right?
Yes and no.
Call it a delayed political reaction to the migration crisis in 2015. The numbers of migrants reaching Europe’s shores is actually much lower now as a result of moves to close the route through the Balkans as well as deals with Turkey and Libya. Applications for asylum fell by 44 percent across the EU in 2017 compared to the previous year, according to a report by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) released earlier this month.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel poses for a selfie with Anas Modamani, a refugee from Syria in September 2015 | Sean Gallup/Getty Images
In the first four months of 2018, asylum applications dropped further, according to provisional data from EASO, with about 197,000 people seeking protection in the EU, fewer than during the same period in each of the last three years, though still higher that the pre-crisis levels in 2014.
Data from the Italian interior ministry show that arrivals by sea have decreased by 77 percent in the first months of the year compared to the same period in 2017. More generally, as of May, data collected by the Council show that almost 26,000 migrants entered Europe by sea so far in 2018. The total number for the same period in 2017 was more than 50,000 arrivals and around 200,000 in 2016.
Where are the migrants from?
Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are the top three countries of origin for asylum applicants in the EU.
What happens to people when they arrive?
Refugees from repressive regimes or war zones are entitled to asylum. According to EASO data, in 2017 around half of asylum claimants were successful in first instance decisions (462,355 out of 996,685). In the first quarter of 2018, 26 percent (34,400) of all first time asylum applicants in EU made their claim in Germany, followed by 19 percent in France, 14 percent in Italy, 10 percent in Greece and 7 percent in Spain, according to statistics from Eurostat.
Back in September 2015, EU states committed to relocating up to 160,000 people who had arrived in Italy and Greece around the Continent within two years. By May the following year only a few thousand had been relocated with some countries not taking any at all. Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European commissioner for migration, told the European Parliament at the time: “Relocation is vital to the success of our migration and asylum policies based on solidarity and responsibility … For this, one element remains critical for the success of the scheme: the political will and the mutual cooperation and trust between member states.”
Hungary under Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Austria under Chancellor Sebastian Kurz have taken a hard line on migration.
In the end, the EU managed to relocate almost 35,000 refuges and since the quota system expired in September 2017 no permanent relocation system, voluntary or mandatory, has been introduced.
Other migrants who are not entitled to protection are returned to their country of origin. In some cases there are bilateral agreements with those countries and in others there are EU-wide agreements. Until May 2016 the EU had concluded 17 EU readmission agreements with different countries (Hong Kong, Macao, Sri Lanka, Albania, Russia, Ukraine, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Moldova, Pakistan, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Cape Verde) plus new arrangements agreed in the last two years (Afghanistan, Guinea, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ivory Coast).
For some countries, including Nigeria and Tunisia, there are no readmission agreements. In other cases, it is not possible to identify a migrant’s nationality or their country of origin refuses to recognize a migrant as one of their citizens. As a result, just over a third of migrants (36.6 percent in 2017 according to Commission data) who are not entitled to asylum are returned home. According to an EU official, each return costs between €3,000 and €5,000.
Which other countries are worried about migration?
Hungary under Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Austria under Chancellor Sebastian Kurz have taken a hard line on migration. The Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia have also resisted taking in refugees.
So they’re on Italy’s side?
They agree that they don’t want migrants coming into Europe and all want to strengthen the EU’s external borders, but Italy believes other EU nations are not taking their fair share of the burden. It wants other countries to take more refugees — something Hungary, Austria and others are refusing to do.
A refugee reacts after arriving ashore on the Greek island of Lesbos in September 2015 | Eric Thayer/Getty Images
Orbán’s position that the EU should do everything possible to prevent arrivals combined with no obligation for internal states to take in asylum seekers is now gaining traction in the European Council. “We have seen that Hungary’s position, which was previously condemned, is now gaining increasing acceptance,” Horst Seehofer, Germany’s interior minister (from the Bavarian CSU), said in a speech last Saturday.
But the EU has a system for dealing with asylum seekers right?
Yes, it’s called the Dublin System, but it is creaking.
The cornerstone of Dublin is that the country where a migrant first enters the EU is responsible for their asylum claim. The original idea was that it would prevent migrants from lodging claims in multiple countries and also avoid asylum seekers being shuttled from state to state. It was conceived as a measure to compensate for the loss of controls that arose from the lifting of internal borders with the introduction of the borderless Schengen area.
But frontline states on the Mediterranean coast argue that this places an unfair burden on them since they have become responsible for almost all asylum seekers (even though many of those who arrive on Greek or Italian shores see Germany or the U.K. as their desired destination.)
What do EU leaders propose to do about it?
The Dutch, Slovak, Maltese and Estonian presidencies of the Council of the EU all tried and failed to find a solution. The current Bulgarian presidency has a proposal that aims to find a balance between mandatory and voluntary elements in a reform to the Dublin System. Its plan is pushed by Germany, Sweden and other countries eager to avoid a repeat of the 2015-2016 migration crisis. It revives the idea of applying mandatory quotas for all EU countries to take a certain number of refugees, but such quotas would only be brought in if refugee numbers spike, suddenly setting off another crisis. Under this new system, the EU would push for voluntary “allocations” of refugees from countries that are hardest hit to other willing EU countries, in part by offering financial inducements.
Is that going to fly?
Almost certainly not.
The plan was openly rejected by Italy and there are no expectations that the EU leaders will able to revitalize it at any time soon. First, the European Council would have to trigger the measures if it deems there is a severe crisis. Italy wants a more automatic system. Second, in the latest drafts of the Bulgarian proposal, countries would only be responsible for migrants for the first eight years after they registered as asylum seekers. That means Germany or France, say, has several years to identify a migrant and send them back to their point of entry to the EU. Italy and other Mediterranean countries say eight years is too long and want it reduced to two.
What’s more, Hungary and other countries are implacably opposed to relocations. “Can there be compromise in the migrant debate? No – and there is no need for it,” Orbán said in a speech Saturday.
Is there anything they can agree on?
Draft guidelines for the European Council summit next week include a proposal for the creation of “regional disembarkation platforms” outside the European Union. These are locations, possibly in North Africa, where officials could quickly differentiate between refugees in need of protection and economic migrants who would potentially face return to their countries of origin.
Isn’t that just outsourcing the problem to migrant camps outside the EU?
The European Commission insists not.
Avramopoulos said Thursday the EU won’t create a “Guantánamo Bay for migrants,” referring to the controversial U.S. detention camp in Cuba. “I’m against Guantánamo Bay for migrants, this is something that is against European values,” he said.
Migrants eat hot meals received from volunteers, outside of derelict warehouses which they use as makeshift shelters, in Belgrade in the winter of 2017 | Andrej Isakovic/AFP via Getty Images
“This is not what we are discussing, or what has been proposed,” he insisted, adding that “the Geneva Convention is there, it is alive, and it is guiding us.”
Even if EU leaders agree on such a proposal though, the problem might be persuading countries outside the bloc to host them.
How come there’s another summit on migration this weekend?
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker organized a mini pre-summit for Sunday ahead of the main European Council gathering next week. Among those attending are the leaders of France, Italy, Austria, Greece, Bulgaria, Spain, Malta and Germany (although the Commission refused to say who had been invited.)
But within 24 hours, things started to go wrong. The Commission published draft conclusions for the mini summit that put heavy attention on the issue of secondary movement of migrants between EU countries, essentially placing that on par with the challenge of initial arrivals.
Europe’s migration problem doesn’t get any easier to solve.
That provoked fury in Italy. “If we go to Brussels to play the script already written by France and Germany, if they think to send us more migrants instead of helping us, then we shouldn’t even go,” Salvini told the Porta a Porta talk show. “We save the money for the trip.”
Merkel subsequently reassured Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte that she would drop the text and the meeting would have no official conclusions, which persuaded him to show up. Meanwhile, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic said Thursday they would boycott the mini summit — even though they never received an invitation.
Europe’s migration problem doesn’t get any easier to solve.
Mini-summit on migration unlikely to heal European rifts
With differences so deep it is hard to see progress being made at Sunday’s meeting
Jon Henley European affairs correspondent
Thu 21 Jun 2018 15.49 BST Last modified on Thu 21 Jun 2018 18.00 BST
It will take more than a mini-summit to bridge the profound differences that exist both between and within EU capitals over how to handle asylum and irregular migration.
Indeed, no sooner had the European commission announced the informal meeting, to be attended by Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Malta, Bulgaria, Belgium and the Netherlands, than the recriminations began.
Aimed at throwing a political lifeline to Angela Merkel in a fraught standoff between the German chancellor and her hardline interior minister, Horst Seehofer, that threatens the stability of her coalition, the measures the summit will discuss have infuriated Italy.
And while Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic will not be present in Brussels on Sunday, their refusal to accept any obligatory quota or redistribution arrangements will necessarily weigh on whatever conclusions it is able to reach.
The fault lines in Europe’s latest political crisis are not just national, but ideological. The commission, Merkel, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the new Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, continue to seek EU-wide agreement and coordinated action.
Rightwingers, including Seehofer, who is demanding the right to turn back refugees and migrants arriving from other EU countries, and the Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, who has called for an “axis of the willing” to tackle illegal migration, want a radical bi- or trilateral approach.
Far-right nationalists, such as Austria’s vice-chancellor, Heinz-Christian Strache, Italy’s interior minister, Matteo Salvini, who will allow no NGO-run migrant rescue ships to land, and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, who this week pushed through laws making it a criminal offence to help asylum seekers, are prepared to go their own way.
With differences so deep and the immediate practical concerns of arrival and destination states so diverse, it is hard to see significant progress being made at Sunday’s meeting, which is intended to prepare the ground for a broader debate on migration between all EU leaders at their summer summit on 28 and 29 June.
Unable for the past three years to reform its Dublin regulation, which requires refugees to claim asylum in the first EU country they enter, the EU is focusing on areas where a minimum of common ground could exist, such as beefing up its external borders and cooperating more closely with countries from Turkey to Niger to stop people leaving.
According to a draft joint declaration, the mini-summit will agree to spend more on building the bloc’s border and coastguard into a “genuine border police force” of 10,000 officers by 2020, and setting up controversial “protection and reception capacity” outside the EU to separate refugees seeking asylum from migrants seeking work.
Participants also aim to strengthen internal controls to combat “secondary movement” of asylum seekers to other EU states, and to agree on “new joint readmission procedures” that would make it easier to send asylum seekers who cross borders back to the states where they applied.
Such measures may placate the likes of Seehofer. But the German interior minister will be less enamoured of a warning that “unilateral, uncoordinated measures” – of the kind he is proposing, and Salvini has already taken – risk “severely damaging the process of European integration”.
And Salvini – in principle, Seehofer’s ideological ally – has protested furiously at the very proposals most likely to find favour with the German interior minister, such as fast-track migrant returns, which he fears could turn Italy into Europe’s holding camp for irregular migrants.
“If they’re thinking of sending us more migrants instead of helping us, then we shouldn’t go [to Brussels] at all,” the leader of the far-right League party said on Wednesday.
Salvini continued: Macron and Sánchez “speak of goodness and generosity ... They should prove it.”
Clash of the EU consiglieri
Migration mini summit is latest battleground for Commission’s Martin Selmayr and Council’s Piotr Serafin.
By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN AND JACOPO BARIGAZZI 6/22/18, 4:00 AM CET Updated 6/22/18, 6:04 AM CET
European Commission Secretary-General Martin Selmayr, left, and Piotr Serafin, chief of staff to European Council President Donald Tusk | European Commission and European Parliament audiovisual
It was a supremely audacious move, even by the standards of Martin Selmayr, whose audacity often seems to know no bounds.
On the day after European Council President Donald Tusk put forward compromise proposals on migration policy in draft conclusions for next week’s EU leaders’ summit, Selmayr, the European Commission secretary-general, issued a rival document — far more sweeping and ambitious — in preparation for a “mini summit” on migration at the Commission this weekend.
And in the EU version of a gloating, post-goal cartwheel routine on the football field, the Commission also issued a slick “note” by its President Jean-Claude Juncker on migration policy, which proved, among other points, that the Council is heavily outnumbered by the Commission when it comes to graphic artists.
Overall, it was a stunning usurpation of the Council’s institutional role as convener of EU summits and, more personally, of the role of Piotr Serafin, Tusk’s chief of staff. Adding to the chutzpah, the Commission noted the document was distributed to prepare for a meeting of EU sherpas. Running such meetings is part of Serafin’s basic job description.
Welcome to another round of Selmayr vs. Serafin: Battle of the Bureaucrats.
At the center of the latest battle is one of the most difficult issues facing the European Union — mass migration.
They are the right hands of the most powerful men in Brussels. And they keep their own left hands clenched so they can punch each other.
At the center of the latest battle is one of the most difficult issues facing the European Union — mass migration, over which member countries have sharply differing interests and strongly held points of view. Leaders’ reelection prospects, not to mention the very survival of the Schengen common travel area, potentially hang in the balance.
Selmayr, the steamrolling secretary-general, is the closest counsel to Juncker. Serafin, the soft-treading sherpa’s sherpa, fills the same role as chief of staff to Tusk. And together they are the faces of a remarkable institutional rivalry that has been a running sub-plot to some of the biggest crises in EU history: the eurozone meltdown, the migration crisis, Brexit.
The fierce struggle burst into public view again this week as Brussels wrestled once more with the contentious migration question.
A Red Cross member assists migrants in Jerez de la Frontera, southern Spain — where hundreds of migrants have arrived by boat in the past week | Cristina Quicler/AFP via Getty Images
After Tusk turned down German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s request to organize a mini-summit of EU leaders ahead of next week’s traditional Council summit, Selmayr saw an opening — and effectively drove a tank through it. Juncker not only put himself forward as host of the gathering, but Selmayr then issued the draft leaders’ statement clearly intended to push aside the traditional Council conclusions proposed a day earlier by Tusk.
Italy reacted furiously to the document on Wednesday, saying it appears to prioritize Merkel’s own domestic political problems on migration over Italy’s longstanding complaint that frontier countries bear too much of a burden in accepting and processing migrants. On Thursday, Merkel shifted into damage-control mode and told Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte that the draft text would be ditched. As a result, Conte said that he would attend the mini summit.
Such squabbling within the Brussels bubble typically infuriates leaders in national capitals, and — based on Merkel’s swift willingness to ditch Selmayr’s document — this week’s conflict seemed to be no exception.
“With just a few exceptions, member states … don’t like to see these institutional fights, especially when they take place in public,” said a senior EU diplomat. “But since [the migration crisis of] 2015, many positions have changed and tensions have been rising.”
One of the biggest shifts concerns Tusk himself.
A former Polish prime minister, Tusk has been accused of not paying enough attention to Southern Europe, and of siding with Eastern Europe. A signature example occurred at the peak of the migration crisis, in June 2015, when hours before the start of a crucial European summit on refugees, Tusk posted a tweet appearing to side with hard-line countries like Hungary over frontline countries like Italy.
The battles between Selmayr and Serafin are on some levels not a fair fight.
“No consensus among MS [member states] on mandatory quotas migrants,” he wrote. “Voluntary mechanism only credible with precise & significant pledges by end July.” Diplomats from Italy and several other countries were furious, saying that Tusk preemptively helped torpedo the plan.
Based on this experience, and also sharp criticism from EU leaders who were not included in a March 2015 meeting about the Greek debt crisis, Tusk — with Serafin as his point man — has worked to avoid the appearance of favoring any subset of EU countries over others.
The battles between Selmayr and Serafin are on some levels not a fair fight. Selmayr is a self-declared warrior for the cause of European federalism, which means he has enemies among national governments who see him trying to usurp their power. National leaders often complain that the Commission should remember it works for them not the other way around. There are no such complaints about the Council.
Merkel’s outreach to Conte seemed to defuse tensions, at least among some EU leaders. But there was no mistaking that the latest shots in the long-running feud across Rue de la Loi have been fired, and there is no putting the grenade back in the launcher.
In a way, it was a throwback to previous years, when Selmayr and Serafin, serving as proxies for their bosses, clashed repeatedly for control — and later for credit — as the EU navigated a series of storms, including the Greek debt crisis, and the opening stages of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.
Among the many examples was Selmayr’s rush to hire Michel Barnier as the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator amid fears that Council officials were conspiring to take control of the negotiations.
The institutions have also tussled for control of a so-called leaders’ agenda, traded barbs over digital policy, and even bickered back and forth over the precise date on which to schedule a special post-Brexit leaders’ summit in Sibiu, Romania.
But even then, the confrontations were rarely as open and obvious as the one this week, and some officials suggested tensions might be rising as Juncker and Tusk maneuver to seal their legacies before the end of their mandates next year.
Two diplomats noted that it is clear Selmayr intended his draft leaders’ statement to be fully adopted by the Council because otherwise a document agreed by just a handful of leaders would not have the force of EU law.
Selmayr is both feared and admired as the most devastatingly effective EU policy aide in recent memory, but critics say his federalist enthusiasm sometimes creates a blind spot when it comes to the political implications for national leaders — for instance, in inviting only some leaders to a meeting on a topic that is of intense interest to all.
“What the hell?” one EU diplomat said, shaking her head in disbelief. The diplomat noted the quagmire created for her country’s prime minister. “Should he just come without an invitation? Should he request an invitation?”
Another EU diplomat, clearly in the spirit of the World Cup, said it is Italy that has come out ahead in this match.
As is usually the case after inter-institutional tensions boil over into public view, neither Commission nor Council officials wanted to comment on Thursday.
A Commission spokesman, Alexander Winterstein, seemed reluctant even to acknowledge that a draft leaders’ statement had been issued to capitals.
“It is clear that the Commission is helping this process along,” Winterstein said at the Commission’s daily news conference when pressed on the matter. “The president of the Commission is inviting leaders here. What is important to note is that the drafts you are seeing are exactly that, drafts. And what will happen to these drafts will be seen at the end of the process.”
After Merkel’s effort to squash the draft text, one Council official couldn’t help but claim a bit of a victory for Serafin. “It was an error in judgement,” the official said of Selmayr’s document. “It was a very, very serious error in judgement.”
Another EU diplomat, clearly in the spirit of the World Cup, said it is Italy that has come out ahead in this match. “Selmayr: 0, Conte: 1,” the diplomat wrote.
Of course, the final score will only be known when the leaders’ make their decisions on migration policy. Until then, the hard tackling will continue. And there’s bound to be another match before too long.
Merkel OUT: Shock poll shows almost half of Germans want Chancellor to RESIGN
ANGELA Merkel is fighting for her political life with almost half of German voters wanting the Chancellor to quit, according to a new poll.
By TOM PARFITT
PUBLISHED: 10:04, Fri, Jun 22, 2018 | UPDATED: 10:21, Fri, Jun 22, 2018
Merkel has FRACTURED Europe claims Carole Malone
The long-running leader has called an emergency summit with the European Union this weekend as her own government threatens to bring her down.
She is at loggerheads with her Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who wants Germany to turn away asylum seekers from its border.
And a new YouGov survey showed 43 percent of German respondents want Mrs Merkel to leave her post.
Another 42 per cent said they wanted the veteran politician to stay on, while 15 per cent did not give a response either way.
And nearly a third of those surveyed – 32 per cent – said they believed the immigration row could topple Merkel's fragile government.
But 45 per cent said the coalition would live to fight another day.
The opinion poll was published as the EU prepares to hold an emergency summit on the migrant crisis on Sunday.
The meeting in Brussels is widely seen as a desperate bid by EU leaders to prop up Mrs Merkel, who has been in power since 2005.
Officials from member states including Germany, Italy, France and Spain are due to attend the conference in the Belgian capital.
Wed, March 14, 2018
Angela Merkel, head of the Christian Democratic Party CDU starts her fourth term as German chancellor
Merkel is at loggerheads with her Interior Minister Horst Seehofer
US President Donald Trump waded into Germany's debate on Monday with a series of tweets criticising Mrs Merkel's open-border policy.
He wrote: "The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition.
"Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!
"Crime in Germany is up 10 per cent plus (officials do not want to report these crimes) since migrants were accepted.
"Others countries are even worse. Be smart America!"
YouGov polled 2,053 people in Germany between June 19 and June 21.