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CSU comes under fire for 'catalogue of inhumanity'

September 9, 2016

A list of the CSU's demands regarding Germany's refugee policy has been leaked to the media, prompting a backlash of criticism. Included are a proposed burqa ban and an upper limit on refugees.

Policeman with migrants at German-Austrian border
Image: Getty Images/AFP/C. Stache

The sister party to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is due to meet behind closed doors in Schwarzenfeld on Friday to discuss several debt instruments, including the refugee and immigration policy.

CSU leader and Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer wants the CSU to use the meeting to position the CSU's confrontations with Merkel and the governing grand coalition between the Union and the Social Democrats (SPD).

Seehofer has been a long-time vocal critic of Merkel's open-door policy since the chancellor allowed some 1 million refugees to cross Germany's borders last year.

Upper limit on refugees

Top of the CSU's agenda is a drastic tightening of the refugee and immigration policy which has drawn widespread criticism from across Germany's political parties.

"Everyone has the right to come to us if they're really a refugee and come from an unsafe region," CDU Parliamentary Group Vice Michael Fuchs told German television channel "n-tv."

CSU leader and Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer with German Chancellor and CDU leader Angela Merkel
CSU leader and Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer with German Chancellor and CDU leader Angela MerkelImage: picture-alliance/dpa/R. Hirschberger

Referring to the one million migrants who arrived in Germany in 2015, the CSU insists, however, that the "situation which occurred last year" cannot be repeated. The party is, therefore, demanding an upper limit of 200,000 refugees per year.

"Determining someone's right to remain in Germany must take place at the transit zones on the border," the CSU urges.

"Those who have no right to stay will be deported directly from the transit zone," the paper says, adding that in future, "priority" should be given to immigrants "from our Western Christian culture."

Burqa ban

Also included in the catalog of demands is a proposed ban on wearing the burqa and niqab in public. "The burqa is "a uniform of Islamism," the CSU says, adding that those who are "unwilling to stop wearing the burqa or niqab should find themselves another country."

"Not every refugee comes in good intentions"

The CSU also suggests that headscarves should be banned in public services and judiciary.

Green Party Chairwoman Simone Peter slammed the CSU's proposals, saying that Seehofer "clearly wants to make the CSU the Bavarian sister party to the [right-wing populist Alternative for Germany] AfD."

The proposals are "pure populist propaganda against everything foreign," she said, adding that the CSU's paper leaves the concept of an open society and the values of Germany's Basic Law behind.

Bavaria's SPD General Secretary Natascha Kohnen requested the CSU to leave the Germany government for what she described in the "Münchner Merkur" on Friday as a "catalog of inhumanity."

'Germany must remain Germany'

The CSU also reiterates in the document the party's determination to anchor the "dominant culture" in the Bavarian Constitution - in other terms, the opposite of multiculturalism.

"Germany must remain Germany," the CSU demands, adding that "we are not to be guided by immigrants, but vice versa."

"We are against the fact that our cosmopolitan country is changed by immigration or refugee influxes," the paper says.

Quick return to home country

Following the end of a crisis in a refugee's home country, the CSU also proposes that asylum seekers should return to their respective countries as quickly as possible.

The party argues that the refugees would be needed in their homelands to help rebuild the country.

"It would be immoral, to deprive these countries of labor," the CSU says.

Infographic showing deportations from Germany have risen

The party is in favor, however, of maintaining the refugee agreement between the European Union (EU) and Turkey, as the deal has helped to reduce the influx of refugees to Europe and Germany. The CSU is against visa liberalization for Turkish citizens, however.

Merkel scrutinized after state election

The CSU's meeting on Friday comes just days after Merkel herself said in parliament that "Germany will remain Germany."

The chancellor came under fire at the beginning of the week after the CDU in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania suffered a stinging backlash as the right-wing populist AfD party entered its ninth regional assembly since 2013.

Merkel told reporters on the sidelines of the G20 summit in China that the outcome of the election "obviously had something to do with the refugee question."

"But I nevertheless believe the decisions made were right and we have to continue to work on them."

On Saturday, the CSU executive board will also discuss the draft of a new CSU policy program. This should then be finalized early in November in Munich.

ksb/jil (dpa, AFP, AP)