In a direct challenge to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s authority, her transport minister has called for a “plan B” regarding the migrant crisis. Warning that offering a “friendly face” is not enough, he said that failure to close the border will “drive Europe to its knees”.
Germany’s Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Alexander Dobrindt (pictured above, right), has attacked Chancellor Merkel’s open border migrant policy in an interview with Bavarian newspaper Münchner Merkur.
Mr. Dobrindt – who is a part of Mrs. Merkel’s sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) – demanded that any change to the policy must accept the inevitability of border closures and prepare for that eventuality. He also warned that Germany has a “limit to what it can take” which has been reached, specifically referring to limits on the ability to integrate, as well as limits in labour markets, housing and social services.
Mr. Dobrindt expressly rejected Chancellor Merkel’s belief that closing the German border would endanger Europe. Stating that the opposite is true, he warned that failing to secure borders would in fact “drive Europe to its knees”.
What is now needed, he said, is a “clear signal to the world: Germany cannot accept everyone who is in search of a better life.”
In an explicit attack on Chancellor Merkel’s ‘Wilkommenspolitik’ — the policy which welcomes all Syrian refugees to Germany — and the language she used to sell it, Mr. Dobrindt said rapid change is needed to save Germany’s reputation in Europe because it is “no longer enough to show the world a friendly face.”
The interview is to date the most open criticism of Chancellor Merkel from within her own coalition government, reports EUobserver.
Although Mr. Dobrindt first said “effective measures are necessary now to stop the influx” in September last year, his latest comments come at a particularly difficult time for the Chancellor as she now faces a backlash from the New Year’s Eve events in Cologne and elsewhere where men of mainly North African or Middle Eastern origin committed hundreds of sexual assaults against women.