‘Islam Makes Little Contribution to Identity of Europe’: Merkel Party Ally

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A senior politician in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Union has said that Islam “makes little contribution” to the foundation of Europe and that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán “holds the key” to solving the EU’s migrant problems.

“Islam belongs just as little to Europe as it belongs to Germany,” Christian Social Union (CSU) of Bavaria Vice-Chairman Manfred Weber told German newspaper Die Welt.

“Of course, today Muslims are part of Europe. On the positive side, there is a debate about the leading culture in Germany. Europe needs this debate too. We must defend our European lifestyle globally,” he added.

The vice-president of the ally party of the Chancellor’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) made the comments after Merkel’s staunch insistence that Islam “belongs to Germany”.

Merkel’s pronounce came directly after CSU leader Horst Seehofer told media that “Islam does not belong to Germany. Germany has been shaped by Christianity” on Friday.

Mr. Weber made the point that religious freedom is a “cornerstone” of German society, but that “Islam makes little contribution to the foundations and identity of this continent”.

When asked by Die Welt what has contributed to the foundations and identity of the continent, Weber identified Christianity amongst other classical liberal values.

“These include fundamental Christian values and education, equal rights for men and women, freedom of the media, democracy and the rule of law, and the social and ecological market economy.

“These basic principles are applied throughout Europe. In the majority of Muslim states, they are not part of the reality of life,”  the Bavarian party member observed.

Weber also told the German newspaper of record that the country should return migrants who have no permanent right to stay, saying that he seeks a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán.

Despite calling Orbán a “belligerent politician”, the German admitted that he has the overwhelming support of the Hungarian people and gave him credit for holding together Europe’s external border, saying: “The fence construction along the Serbian border, which controls the migratory flows, deserves therefore not criticism, but our support.”

“That’s why we have to respect him and talk to him. He holds one of the keys to the solution of the migration policy in his hand,” Weber said.

However, Weber signalled that he wants to come to a concession on a “common response in terms of a migration policy” with Orbán – pointing to an EU-wide agreement on a shared asylum policy with which Central Europe must show “solidarity”, “Otherwise we will not succeed in a sustainable response to migration flows,” he said.

The Hungarian conservative has repeatedly rejected proposals for a supranational asylum policy, calling it the “institutionalisation of migration and the opening up of the European Union’s external borders”.

CSU party leader Seehofer has pressed Merkel, who unilaterally opened the European Union’s borders to unlimited third world migrants in 2015, to put a cap on the number of asylum seekers Germany takes in.

Seehofer, who has a warmer personal opinion of Orbán than Weber,  invited the Fidesz leader to a CSU conference in January where the Hungarian premier told German conservatives that 2018 will the year “the people’s will”.

The veteran German statesman said that he wanted Bavaria to play its part in a “Central European alliance”, saying: “Without a doubt [Prime Minister Orbán] stands upon ground made up of the rule of law,” in rebuke of Brussels’ migrant policy.

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