We’ve been here before. There have been many times over her Chancellorship, that we have asked “is this the end of Merkel?”, so far the answer has been no, but this could all be set to change.
This week Chancellor Merkel faces her biggest challenge since becoming the Chancellor of Germany at this weeks EU Summit. This is because of an ongoing dispute between Merkel and her Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, which risks tearing asunder the CDU/CSU electoral alliance that has been in existence for nearly 70 years and risks changing German politics as we know it.
The dispute between Merkel and Seehofer has exacerbated over recent weeks, over the placement of refugees who enter Germany via other EU countries. Mr. Seehofer wants to reintroduce a border to prevent more migrants entering the country — with Germany seeing over a million enter since the Summer of 2015 — while Merkel on the other hand, still endorses her own migration policy that was widely criticised for being “too soft”
We now know that we’ve entered the twilight of the Merkel era, but many political observers will be looking at this weeks EU summit as a sign of if Merkel will soon be ousted as Chancellor. The only real way she can come out of this summit victorious, is if she can appease the CSU with the reforms they want over migration, however the one country she needs the support of, are becoming her biggest critics.
The biggest obstacle will be Italy. This is because of their Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, who since coming to office earlier this month, has taken a hardline against immigration — even refusing to allow boats with refugees to enter Italian ports.
The irony here is that populists have the opportunity to bring down another political leader, although in this case it would be the Italian populists (made up of the Lega and 5 Star Movements) bringing down a leader from another country. . . something that is wholly unprecedented in European politics.
Merkel is going. . . but will it be this week?