The German chancellor is speaking to parliament for the first time since her standoff with Interior Minister Horst Seehofer on migration. The tension within her coalition remains high, as the opposition seeks to cash in.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday addressed parliament after staving off her government’s collapse over issues concerning irregular migration to the country.
Her address comes at a tense moment across Europe. But she made clear that Germany’s fate is tied to that of the EU. “The future of Germany is closely linked to the future of Europe … and the future of the global order,” said Merkel.
While the parliamentary session was expected to focus on defense, it provided Merkel the opportunity to address other issues, including an agreement on migration between her and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.
Merkel said the EU’s approach to irregular migration would include agreements with African countries, building up Libya’s coast guard to combat human trafficking and a possible Marshall Plan for the continent. She also said her government would work towards ensuring freedom of movement within the Schengen zone after Austria called for beefing up the EU’s external borders.
“Migration is anything but just a European problem. It is a global problem that deserves an international solution,” Merkel said.
However, Merkel still lacks outright support for the agreement from her government’s junior partner, the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD).
‘Agony of the Merkel era’
Ahead of Merkel’s address, opposition leader Alice Weidel of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, called the standoff with Seehofer an “unworthy act” and called the agreement a “pyrhic victory.” Weidel arged that Seehofer had become the “prolonger of the agony of the Merkel era,” concluding with the AfD’s latest appeal for Merkel to resign.