Germany’s open borders policy has divided Europe and could bring about the ultimate collapse of the Schengen agreement, Bavaria’s Finance Minister has said.
Markus Söder said the German federal government must bear a large portion of the blame for Europe’s migrant crisis and needs to put a cap on immigration as soon as possible.
In an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Mr Söder, who is a member of Angela Merkel’s sister party the CSU, said the situation in Europe was “worrying”, adding: “Schengen is currently suspended because no one can rely on the control of EU external borders. Because of this, Schengen may perish in the long run.”
He called for Germany to put a cap on the number of migrants it takes, saying this would “send an urgent signal that Germany has been exhausted and we cannot just take anyone who wants to come to us.”
He also criticised Angela Merkel’s recent comments in which she said many migrants would simply return to their homeland once the war is over.
“This is not enough,” he said. “We need a fundamental change of course.”
The Bavarian Finance Minister added that the country needed a “much more consistent” strategy to deport failed asylum seekers and should look to Sweden as an example. That country announced last week it would expel some 80,000 failed asylum seekers, with interior minister Anders Ygeman instruction police and migration services to being repatriation efforts.
Speaking on the rise of the anti-mass immigration Alternativ für Deutschland (AfD) party, Mr Söder said they had become a “thermometer” for the growing discontent within Germany at the government’s seeming inability to control the borders.
Nonetheless, the establishment politician wasted no time in condemning them as a “spectre” that preaches “irresponsible nonsense”.
The party has been rising in the polls in recent months, as many Germans lose faith in political establishment’s ability to deal with the crisis.
Breitbart London reported earlier this week how Angela Merkel’s deputy called for the party to be put under observation by the government agency that tracks extremists following media reports that the party’s leader called for border guards to open fire on migrants.
Frauke Petry told the Mannheimer Morgen paper that border police “must stop illegal border crossings, and also make use of [their] firearm if necessary.”
“No policeman wants to fire on a refugee and I don’t want that either,” she added, “but the last resort includes the use of armed force.”
The comments have been seized on by opponents in the press and in other parties who hope to portray AfD as extreme.