Thursday

5th May 2016

Merkel faces coalition troubles over euro-bailouts

Bavaria's conservative leader Horst Seehofer has threatened to withdraw support for German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition if more concessions are made to ailing euro-countries.

Seehofer, who chairs the Christian Social Union in Bavaria and is renowned for his polarising statements, told Stern magazine on Tuesday (3 July) that Germany's contribution to bailouts was already "borderline".

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"The time will come when the Bavarian government and the CSU can no longer say yes. And I wouldn't then be able to support that personally either," he said. "And the coalition has no majority without CSU's seats," the party chief added.

His biggest fear, he said, is that markets will soon turn to Germany and start asking if it can cope with all the rescues: "That is the point I regard as the most dangerous of all."

As for eurozone's troubled economies, the Bavarian politician advised them to drop their debt mentality.

"The fact that others want to get at our money without asking too much of themselves is deeply human. But it won't solve the problem."

He also vented anger at the deal sealed last week at an EU summit, where Merkel was seen as giving in to demands from Italy and Spain on changing the rules of the yet-to-be-created permanent bailout fund to help Rome and Madrid lower their borrowing costs.

"We were debating about the stability pact in the Bundestag. And at exactly that time the government leaders of some euro countries were working to soften precisely those stability criteria. Who is supposed to understand that?"

Referendum suggestions made by finance minister Wolfgang Schauble are also a no-go in Bavaria: "Hands off our constitution! We have this constitution to thank for the most stable state and the most stable democracy there has ever been in German history. We don't want a different constitution."

Merkel on Tuesday denied there were any divergences with the Bavarian sister party. "I think that we will cooperate well in the coalition, not only on European issues," she said during a press conference in Berlin.

The Free Democratic Party, Merkel's other coalition partner, sprang to her defence. "At the current difficult time for the euro and Europe, Germany needs a stable government which is capable of taking action," said FDP secretary general Patrick Doring.

"On rough seas, you don't question the course or the leadership," he told Handelsblatt.

But Bavaria's Conservatives are not alone in being disgruntled. Finland and the Netherlands in recent days have also re-stated their opposition to having the bailout fund buy bonds to help out Italy.

Meanwhile Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, while visiting Merkel in Berlin on Tuesday, said his nation was not ready to put more money in the euro-rescue with no guarantees for reforms.

"The (Slovak) public's patience is wearing thin," Fico said.

Merkel is travelling to Rome on Wednesday to meet Prime Minister Mario Monti.

"We will try to overcome opposition from countries like Finland and the Netherlands, which have a certain intolerance towards stability mechanisms," Monti said on the eve of the talks.

European experts to probe Polish police law

The Council of Europe is sending a team to Poland to investigate fears that a new law will give police too much power, as the supreme court weighs into a row over legal reform.

News in Brief

  1. EU parliament drivers forced to open doors and carry bags
  2. EU Commission proposes visa-free travel for Turkey
  3. Iceland in court for not respecting EU laws
  4. Sweden registers more asylum application withdrawals
  5. German Pegida leader convicted of inciting hatred
  6. ECB expected to stop printing €500 notes
  7. Spain dissolves parliament for 26 June election
  8. Germany to legalise cannabis for medicinal use

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Centre Maurits CoppetiersBrexit Could Increase Support for Independence in Pro-EU Scotland
  2. European Music CouncilRegister Now for the 6th European Forum on Music in Wroclaw, European Capital of Culture 2016
  3. Belgrade Security ForumJoin Our Team for the 6th Belgrade Security Forum. Apply Now! Deadline May 20
  4. European Roundtable of IndustrialistsCompanies Make Progress on Number of Women in Leadership Roles
  5. Counter BalanceParliament Gets Tough on Control EU Bank's Funds
  6. ICRCSyria: Aleppo on the Brink of Humanitarian Disaster
  7. CESIWorld Day For Health and Safety at Work: Public Sector Workers in The Focus
  8. EFABasque Peace Process-Arnaldo Otegi Visits the European Parliament
  9. EscardioChina Pays Price of Western Lifestyle With Soaring Childhood Obesity
  10. Centre Maurits CoppetiersThe Existence of a State is a Question of Fact, Not a Question of Law
  11. ICRCSyria: Aid for Over 120,000 People Arrives in Besieged Town Near Homs