An Armistice to Avoid a Repeat of 1976


What happened?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and Horst Seehofer, Minister of the Interior, (CSU) reached an agreement after dramatic days in Germany. Seehofer clashed with the Chancellor over the country’s migration policy. He threatened to resign in case proposed alternatives by Merkel wouldn’t have ‘the same effect’. In the end, both agreed to set up transit centres on Germany’s southern border.

Why does it matter?

The political crisis in Germany had the potential for far-reaching consequences:

  1. A separation of the Union parties CDU and CSU that already occurred once briefly in 1976
  2. A breakdown of the four-month coalition of CDU, CSU and SPD
  3. New Elections
  4. Further Uncertainty for Europe

This would have come at a time at which Europe finds itself confronted by various challenges, such as increasing trade tensions with the U.S..

What’s next?

The agreement ought to be seen as an armistice. Details on transit zones are vague. Doubts remain on the future working relationship between Merkel and Seehofer. A difficult relationship got even more difficult. Things don’t look good for Germany. A weak coalition, and a battered leader confronted with numerous challenges.

To further complicate things, last week’s EU summit underlined the divide between its 28 members. Countries, such as Hungary, skipped last week’s summit, while Italy blocked the release of a joint statement until tougher measures on migration were reached.


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