domingo, 1 de julho de 2018

É hoje, segunda feira, a última e decisiva reunião entre Seehofer e Merkel, depois de Seehofer ter anunciado a decisão de se demitir ...

CSU’s Seehofer takes Germany to the brink

Interior minister will meet Angela Merkel for one last shot at a compromise Monday.

By           MATTHEW KARNITSCHNIG         7/2/18, 7:33 AM CET Updated 7/2/18, 7:42 AM CET

Horst Seehofer's resignation offer followed a topsy-turvy 24-hours of crisis talks aimed at preserving the German coalition | Christof Stache/AFP via Getty Images

BERLIN — Germany’s politics were thrust into deep disarray late Sunday as Interior Minister Horst Seehofer made a shock announcement he would resign over his clash with Angela Merkel, only to reverse course and say he would make a final attempt to forge a compromise with the chancellor at a meeting on Monday.

A day many hoped would bring a solution to a dispute over refugee policy that has threatened to bring down the government ended instead with the German coalition inching even closer to the edge. The future of the 70-year-old conservative alliance between Seehofer’s Christian Social Union and the Christian Democrats, the bulwark of Germany’s political establishment, hung in the balance.

“We’re going to try again to have a discussion in Berlin with the CDU in the hope that we can come to an understanding,” Seehofer said upon leaving party headquarters at around 2 a.m. “I hope we succeed.”

Throughout the weeks of crisis between the CDU and CSU, a compromise between the two parties had seemed to be the only logical outcome. But the tumultuous meeting of the CSU’s senior ranks on Sunday made it clear the dispute is as much about raw emotion as it is about political calculus.

Despite Sunday’s back-and-forth over Seehofer’s resignation, few doubt the sincerity of the threat. Earlier this year, Seehofer was forced to give up his powerful post as Bavarian premier to his youthful rival, Markus Söder. And although he retains his position as CSU leader, Seehofer, 69, was never expected to stay in the post for long.

Put simply, even with Seehofer gone, the viability of Merkel’s coalition, which also includes the Social Democrats, would remain in doubt.

While Seehofer suggested to party colleagues that his offer to step down was a way to defuse the crisis and keep the two parties, collectively known as the Union, from divorcing, the fallout from a resignation is difficult to predict.

Far from calming the waters, it could well fuel resentment of Merkel within the CSU and even within her own party, where many disagree with her course. Like Seehofer, a number of the CSU’s other leaders have shown no intention of backing away from his pledge to turn back refugees, suggesting the issue would persist and further destabilize the government.

Put simply, even with Seehofer gone, the viability of Merkel’s coalition, which also includes the Social Democrats, would remain in doubt.

Seehofer’s resignation offer followed a topsy-turvy 24-hours of crisis talks aimed at preserving the coalition.

He and Merkel met late Saturday in Berlin, where they were seen sipping wine on the balcony of Merkel’s chancellery. The bonhomie ended there, however, as the two failed to bridge their policy differences during the two-hour meeting.

Upon his arrival at a meeting of CSU leaders in Munich on Sunday, Seehofer characterized his session with Merkel as “pointless,” according to German media reports.

After weeks of heated debate over whether Germany should implement Seehofer’s controversial plan to turn away refugees registered in other EU countries, the scope for a compromise remains murky at best.

Merkel has made it clear she wouldn’t support such a step over concerns that it would trigger the collapse of Europe’s system of open borders and further undermine the solidarity of an already-fractious EU.

Last month, Seehofer agreed to give Merkel until last week’s EU summit to come up with an alternative solution, setting the stage for the weekend showdown.

Merkel returned from the summit with a host of commitments on refugee policy from both the EU and individual countries.

In fact, Merkel made more progress on the refugee front than most thought possible.

One factor for Seehofer’s refusal to stand down could be his strained personal relationship with Merkel.

Still, it wasn’t enough to satisfy Seehofer, who told party associates on Sunday that the EU plans would make little difference on the German border. Seehofer has argued that turning refugees away would help dissuade migrants from trying to come to Germany in the first place, a notion organizations that work closely with those fleeing dispute.

Most political observers in Germany view Seehofer’s hard line simply as electioneering before Bavarian state elections in October. The CSU faces a serious challenge from the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party and is likely to lose its absolute majority. The CSU, which doesn’t operate outside Bavaria, has dominated the wealthy southern state’s politics since the war and is fighting tooth and nail to defend its position there.

Whether the dissolution of its alliance with the larger CDU is a price the CSU is willing to pay is unclear. Seehofer and other leading party officials insist a separation is the last thing they want. A divorce would rob the CSU of much of its influence in Berlin and would mean the party has to contend with the CDU as a competitor in Bavaria for the first time.

That’s what worries the CSU’s more liberal members, a group that includes Manfred Weber, leader of the European People’s Party group in the European Parliament. At Sunday’s CSU meeting, they pushed for a compromise with Merkel, arguing that the progress she had made on the European front was substantial enough to justify a compromise.

Many in Berlin were surprised the CSU didn’t seize the moment by taking credit for advancing the refugee question on the European agenda by pressuring Merkel. After the summit a string of CSU officials praised the results as a step in the right direction.

One factor for Seehofer’s refusal to stand down could be his strained personal relationship with Merkel. Though the two have been working with one another for 30 years, they’ve never gotten along.

If his resignation ended up forcing Merkel’s own departure, Seehofer would have the last laugh.

For the CSU, however, the score settling would carry a heavy price.

A string of recent polls suggests most voters blame the CSU for the dispute with the CDU, a factor that could harm the party’s prospects in the October election.

That CSU officials convinced Seehofer to delay a final decision until after seeing Merkel one more time suggests the party is well aware of the risks.

Whether Seehofer will agree to compromise Monday after weeks of stubborn refusal is another question.

Ministro do Interior apresenta demissão em conflito com Merkel

Em causa está o diferendo entre Horst Seehofer e a chanceler alemã em torno da política germânica de imigração e de acolhimento de refugiados.

 Maria João Guimarães
MARIA JOÃO GUIMARÃES 1 de Julho de 2018, 22:09

O ministro alemão do Interior, Horst Seehofer, anunciou este domingo que irá abandonar o Governo e a liderança da União Social Cristã (CSU), o partido bávaro aliado da CDU de Angela Merkel.

Se o fizer, este pode ser o modo de pôr uma pedra sobre a discussão interna sobre imigração e asilo que tem dominado as últimas semanas.

O jornal Die Zeit sublinhava que não era clara a resposta da liderança da CSU ao pedido de demissão.

Os responsáveis do partido conservador, que só existe na Baviera, reuniram-se durante sete horas para discutir os resultados da cimeira europeia de quinta e sexta-feira, em que foram discutidas políticas de asilo e imigração.

A questão era se os resultados da cimeira, com várias medidas para evitar um aumento do número de chegadas irregulares à Europa, seriam suficientes do ponto de vista do partido.

Merkel conseguiu uma série de acordos bilaterais, com 16 países (incluindo Portugal), em que estes se comprometem a receber os refugiados que lá pediram asilo, mas que entretanto seguiram para a Alemanha.

Seehofer queria decidir que as forças de segurança alemã pudessem impedir a entrada ou expulsar imediatamente requerentes de asilo que se tivessem registado primeiro noutros países europeus (o país de registo deverá ser, segundo o regulamento de Dublin, o de acolhimento).

Seehofer é ministro há pouco mais de 100 dias e ocupa a liderança da CSU desde 2008, tendo perdido no final do ano passado para o seu rival Markus Söder o cargo de governador da Baviera.

O estado federado terá eleições em Outubro, e muitos viram o endurecimento da posição em relação à imigração e asilo de Seehofer como uma tentativa de ficar em melhor posição, mas segundo as sondagens, isso não parece estar a acontecer e a CSU desceu nas últimas sondagens.

Ao ameaçar implementar a medida sozinho contra a opinião da chanceler, Seehofer pôs-se numa posição em que só tinha três possibilidades: voltar atrás e declarar suficientes os compromissos que Merkel obteve na cimeira, demitir-se e evitar uma crise no Governo, ou levar as medidas avante e ser demitido por Merkel.

Tudo dependeria também do apoio dentro do seu partido - uma saída do partido da coligação no governo e um rompimento com a CDU teriam consequências imprevisíveis -, e relatos da interminável reunião davam conta de muitas discordâncias, a última das quais seria em relação a aceitar o seu pedido de demissão, ameaçando arrastar a instabilidade.

Esta não é a primeira vez que Seehofer tem um forte desentendimento com Merkel. Em 2004, demitiu-se de vice-presidente do grupo parlamentar da CDU/CSU depois de Merkel, então chefe do partido e da oposição ao Governo de Gerhard Schröder, ter aceitado um compromisso de política de saúde a que o bávaro se opunha. Um ano depois, Merkel ganhava as eleições.

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