“The EU cannot play saviour to Iceland's economic crisis,” said Markus Ferber, head of the CSU's members of the European parliament, after the Icelandic parliament voted on Thursday to apply for entry to the EU. The EU Commission responded by promising to process the application quickly.
“We should discuss the structure of the EU before we discuss extending it,” CSU General Secretary Alexander Dobrindt told the newspaper at the CSU party conference in Nuremberg on Friday. The move continues the Bavarian party's Eurosceptic line.
Dobrindt repeated the CSU's demand that any further admissions to the EU must be subject to a referendum in Germany. “That goes for Iceland too,” he said.
According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the joint CDU/CSU manifesto for this September's election will indirectly oppose any further EU admissions, with the exception of Croatia. Germany's two main conservative parties are calling for a “consolidation phase” in the EU.
But the idea of referendums to decide EU extensions has been vehemently dismissed by the CDU – one of a number of disagreements between the two allied parties in recent months.
Despite these fractures, mainly on the issues of taxes and Europe, CSU party leader Horst Seehofer repeated his support for Angela Merkel at the opening of the conference.
“It will be a Merkel election campaign. She is the strongest personality we have,” he declared in his speech.