Opinion: Angela Merkel and Horst Seehofer - a lost cause | Opinion | DW | 08.09.2016
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Opinion

Opinion: Angela Merkel and Horst Seehofer - a lost cause

Merkel's words have fallen upon deaf ears in the CSU, whose party line appears to be more radical than the AfD's. It's heating up to be an interesting weekend of politics in Germany, writes DW's Kay-Alexander Scholz.

The conflict in Germany's conservative camp has entered a new round. Angela Merkel shouts unmistakably in the direction of Bavarian State Premier Horst Seehofer and his CSU party: Tone it down, otherwise the populists win and we will lose our orientation if we start following the AfD's lead, language-wise.

The next day, the press has a CSU paper that's supposed to be adopted at a conference over the weekend. And this paper doesn't care one iota about what the chancellor wants.

What about the hope of peace between Merkel's CDU and its sister party, the CSU? It was false alarm.

Copied from the AfD?

It gets better.

The paper not only agrees with the AfD party platform on many points, but it even goes one step farther.

When it comes to the ban on burqas - full consensus. "Asylum is only a right to time" - the AfD sends its greetings. There is "an obligation" for migrants to integrate - same wording. The state must have full sovereignty to decide who crosses into its territory - brothers in spirit.

Scholz Kay-Alexander Kommentarbild App

DW's Kay-Alexander Scholz

The CSU goes farther than the AfD on the topic of dual citizenship. The Bavarian party wants to make exceptions: "Migrants from our Western Christian cultural circle should be given priority."

Even the AfD wasn't able to escalate matters to this level at its own convention, where members were fighting about the party platform. Instead, they opted for softer wording, such as "gradual extinction of European culture" and "no migration for people with poor integration prospects."

But why?

In Berlin, people are wondering if the Bavarians have finally lost it.

Well, they're staying true to themselves. The CSU was dissatisfied with Merkel's European approach to refugee policies from the beginning and wanted tougher national measures.

The CSU's second motive is fear of the AfD. It doesn't want to accept the fact that a new party has established itself to its right.

Thirdly, the mood among the CSU base and in Bavaria is critical of Merkel. And this boosts Seehofer in his efforts to defend the absolute majority of his party.

And finally, the Bavarians see what their neighbors in Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava - who are counting on closing the door to outsiders - are doing.

Regardless of how this argument ends, Seehofer and Merkel meet on Sunday. Merkel is standing there looking rather snubbed - her call in the Bundestag didn't even last a few hours. Her power has diminished again.

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