• Germany's news in English

Minister 'attempts putsch' over refugees

DPA/The Local · 9 Nov 2015, 10:06

Published: 09 Nov 2015 09:05 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Nov 2015 10:06 GMT+01:00

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, a senior figure in the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), unexpectedly announced on Saturday that Syrians would no longer be awarded three years' residency in Germany and that they could no longer bring their families with them at a later point.

But it quickly became clear that De Maizière's comments did not have the backing of more senior figures in the government. On Sunday Peter Altmaier (CDU), Angela Merkel's Chief of Staff, said that the asylum process for Syrian refugees would not be changed and confirmed that he had had no idea about De Maizière's change of course.

Merkel publicly stripped De Maizière of overall control of the refugee crisis in October and handed it to Altmaier.

However, other senior figures in the conservative CDU have come out in support of the besieged interior minister, including influential Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. The finance minister's support indicates an ever increasing fracture in Germany's dominant political party over what is fast becoming the most controversial government policy during Merkel's decade in power.

"Of course we have to limit the ability to take family over, because we're at the limit of our capabilities,“ Schäuble told broadcaster ARD.

"I consider it to be a vital decision and I'm a strongly in favour of coming to a quick agreement on this in the coalition.“

De Maizière also found strong backing from Horst Seehofer, head of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), a junior partner in the government.

"Thomas de Maizière is right,“ Seehofer told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. "We need to start applying the law again and properly check every Syrians refugee status."

But Sigmar Gabriel, head of the coalition's other member, the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), accused De Maizière of announcing a policy that had not been agreed upon by the government.

"We agreed the opposite to what he is saying – nobody can expect the SPD to publicly say yes or no to some policy which was announced 24 hours earlier,“ Gabriel told broadcaster ARD.

'Putsch attempt'

A senior politician in the Green Party accused the interior minister of attempting to overthrow the government with his unexpected policy announcement.

Story continues below…

"Chaos rules in the CDU at the moment," Robert Habeck, deputy leader of the Green Party in Schleswig-Holstein, told the Rheinische Post.

"That is a putsch. It needs to be clear who is the cook and who is the waiter," he added.

Germany announced last week that it had already received over 700,000 asylum applications in 2015, as migrants flood into the country seeking protection from war and a better future.

Germany's generous policies towards refugees have met with growing public unrest, as violence against refugee centres has hit an all-time high, and anti-refugee protests have drawn thousands onto the streets of some cities.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
Lion shot dead at Leipzig Zoo after breaking out of cage
Motshegetsi (l) und Majo. Photo: DPA

A young male lion was shot dead at Leipzig Zoo on Thursday afternoon after he broke out of his enclosure.

EU takes Germany to court for 'discriminatory' foreigner toll
A sign that reads "toll" along the Autobahn by Rostock. Photo: DPA.

The European Commission on Thursday said it is taking Germany to the EU Court of Justice because of the country's plan to impose a road toll that would mainly charge foreign drivers.

After 3-year trial, suspected neo-Nazi terrorist speaks out
Beate Zschäpe. Photo: DPA

Beate Zschäpe, the only living member of an underground neo-Nazi cell accused of murdering ten people, has spoken to the court in Munich after three years of silence.

Green party wants only e-cars on Autobahn by 2030
Photo: DPA.

The environmentalist Green party has an ambitious plan for German cars to be petrol- and diesel-free within the next 15 years.

Commerzbank to make one in five staff redundant by 2020
Photo: DPA

Germany's second largest lender Commerzbank said on Thursday it plans to cut 9,600 jobs by 2020 and withhold dividends to pay for a €1.1 billion restructuring.

Germany's favourite smoker wins battle against eviction
Photo: DPA

How a pensioner with a serious smoking habit won a years-long fight for his right to keep his home - and his favourite pastime.

Thousands evacuated after WWII bomb found in Cologne
File photo of a Second World War bomb: DPA

Several thousands people were being evacuated from a district of Cologne just north of the old town on Thursday morning, after a Second World War bomb was found in a parking lot.

Kidnapped German journalist and her baby freed in Syria
File photo of a Syrian soldier: SANA/DPA.

A German woman who was kidnapped in Syria last year while she was pregnant has been freed along with her baby, the German Foreign Office said on Wednesday.

Air Berlin to cut 1,200 jobs and halve airline fleet
Photo: DPA.

Struggling Air Berlin, Germany's second-largest airline, announced on Wednesday a major restructuring plan that shrinks its fleet and cuts 1,200 jobs.

Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Photo: Thomas Wolf/Wikimedia Commons.

From stunning chalk-white cliffs to fairy tale castles, Germany has some breathtaking sights to see, perfect for social media.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd