Germany should completely close its borders to refugees if it is to solve to migrant crisis, a former President of Bavaria has said.
Edmund Stoiber — an elder statesmen in the Christian Social Union (CSU), Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Bavarian sister party — said Germany had to change direction fast, and gave the Chancellor just two months to solve the problem.
“Angela Merkel must now change her position, otherwise there will be disastrous consequences for Germany and Europe,” Mr Stoiber said in an interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung.
In what appeared to be an ultimatum, he added that if Mrs Merkel does change her policy, there will be a “confrontation” after local elections in March.
The CSU must make Mrs Merkel’s own party agree with their position more hard line policy on border security, Mr Stoiber added, “If necessary, against the opinion of Mrs Merkel.”
The aim is not to “attack or replace” the Chancellor, he said, but to bring about a change in attitude.
The only solution that will likely make a difference, Mr Stoiber added, was for Germany to completely close its border to refugees for an unspecified period in order both to reduce numbers.
If it does not take radical action, the rest of Europe will see the migrant crisis as a specifically German problem and will never reach an agreement to tackle it.
Mr Stoiber is well-known for his outspoken conservatism as was regarded as a thorn in Angela Merkel’s side while he served as Bavarian President, despite being formally in electoral alliance with her. In 2002, he outmanoeuvred her to become the main centre-right candidate for Chancellor, but narrowly lost the subsequent election.
He had already been calling for limited immigration long before the current migrant crisis began and staunchly opposed Turkey joining the European Union (EU), saying its Muslim culture was not compatible with European values.
In 2004, Mr Stoiber even went as far as to call Turkey a threat to the EU’s very survival, saying: “The EU of today is a political union, and I am convinced, just like the majority of Germans, that admitting Turkey into the EU would overwhelm it.”