Angela Merkel may not be able to avoid a crisis after Christian Social Union leader Horst Seehofer rejected the Social Democrats’ migrant family reunification plans before coalition negotiations have even begun.
The asylum seeker family reunification issue ultimately led to the collapse of the so-called “Jamaica coalition” talks late last month, when the classical liberal Free Democrats (FDP) pulled out of the negotiations.
The Social Democrats (SPD), led by former European Parliament president Martin Schulz, said that migrant family reunification would be a condition for a new “grand coalition” — but this has now been rejected by Christian Social Union (CSU) leader Horst Seehofer, Die Welt reports.
Seehofer, who recently announced he would be stepping down as Prime Minister of Bavaria but staying on as CSU leader, said family reunification “would be such a massive amount of immigration that Germany’s ability to integrate would be totally overwhelmed”.
Estimates from earlier this year suggest that by 2018 around 390,000 Syrians with full asylum status or temporary asylum status would be eligible to bring their families to Germany.
Bavaria Classifies Asylum Homes as ‘Dangerous’ https://t.co/3JoVz95fV0
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 5, 2017
Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) could also face opposition to a grand coalition from parts of the SPD as well. The youth organisation of the SPD, the Jusos, are against the idea of a grand coalition, with their leader Kevin Kühnert saying that they agree with talks but that the talks should not lead to a formal coalition.
So far, the SPD has not formally agreed to hold coalition talks with the CDU as the party has decided to put the matter to a vote among the party members, which will be held on Thursday.
Despite winning the national election in September, Merkel has not been able to form a working government. If she cannot form a coalition with the SPD, many expect there to be snap elections which would have to take place early in the new year.
Recent polls show little change in polling for the SPD or the CDU/CSU, and the anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany (AfD) remains in third place.
Germany, INSA poll:
CDU/CSU-EPP: 31% ↓
LINKE-LEFT: 11% ↑
— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) December 5, 2017
Some, like the youth branch of the CDU in Dusseldorf, the Junge Union, have called for Merkel to step down as leader of the party. Merkel has shown no signs of being willing to resign as leader, despite her election failure — though several prominent CDU members could potentially replace her.