Thursday

21st Mar 2019

Migration is 'mother of all problems', says German interior minister

  • The Bavarian christian-democrat of Horst Seehofer (c) distants itself from chancellor Merkel (Photo: Blu News)

Migration is "the mother of all problems", German interior minister Horst Seehofer is reported to have said on Wednesday (5 September).

According to Die Welt and Bild newspapers, Seehofer made the statement at a closed-doors meeting with members of his Christian-Social Union (CSU) party, the Bavarian branch of chancellor Angela Merkel CDU party.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The CSU is holding a two-day congress in Neuhardenberg, near Berlin, about a month before regional elections, on 14 October.

With the CSU set to lose ground to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), Seehofer's comments demonstrate the party's attempt to appear tougher than the AfD and to distinguish itself from Merkel.

Speaking to party members, Seehofer expressed sympathy for people in Chemnitz who protested against migration in the wake of the murder of a German, allegedly by a Syrian and an Iraqi.


The protests included demonstrations by neo-Nazi groups and violence against foreign-looking people.

The interior minister said he understood that people were "troubled" and "outraged" by the murder.

"People have to know that we understand such indignation after such a brutal crime," he said. He added that the crime was "in no way an appeal to violence", however.

Also speaking in Neuhardenberg, the CSU group's chief in the Bundestag, Alexander Dobrindt, said that "the issues of security, order and migration [were] central".

The campaign line follows a showdown between Seehofer and Merkel earlier this year, over refugees coming to Germany, in which the interior minister had threatened to resign if borders were not made secure.

The CSU, which last year invited Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban to its meeting, an opponent of Merkel's EU policies, is also provoking the chancellor this year.

It invited the US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, a close ally to US president Donald Trump, who said earlier this year that he wanted to "empower other conservatives throughout Europe".

According to the Handelsblatt daily, the CSU meeting's draft closing statement said that "no country [other than the US] is as close to us culturally, historically, and economically."

By contrast, last year's CDU election programme had removed traditional references to the US as a "friend".

Contrary to Merkel's opinion that Europe can no longer rely on the US and must "take its destiny into its own hands," the statement also said that "Europe shouldn't become a counterweight to the US; rather, the US and Europe should together be a counterweight to those who undermine our Western values."

The CSU is the party of Manfred Weber, the leader of the centre-right group in the European Parliament, who announced on Wednesday that he was a candidate to become president of the European Commission next year.

German conservative to run for Juncker's job

Manfred Weber, leader of the largest, centre-right group in the EP, has announced his bid to succeed Juncker at the helm of the European Commission. But his lack of experience and handling of Hungary's Orban are already raising questions.

Chemnitz neo-Nazis pose questions for Germany

UN human rights commissioner urged EU leaders to condemn violence that recalled the 1930s, but the local situation in former East Germany does not apply to the whole country.

EU in sudden turmoil over UN migration pact

A UN migration pact aimed at laying down basic principles for tackling migration on a global level gets caught up in Europe's heated political debate on nationalism and migration, ahead of the May 2019 European elections.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  4. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  7. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  12. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership

Latest News

  1. EPP suspends Orban's Fidesz party
  2. Macron is confusing rigidity with strength
  3. May tosses Brexit spanner into EU machinery
  4. Centre-right EPP faces showdown with Orban
  5. A compromise proposal for the Article 50 extension
  6. US glyphosate verdict gives ammunition to EU activists
  7. Have a good reason for Brexit extension, Barnier tells UK
  8. EU countries push for new rule of law surveillance

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us