Leopold Traugott Profile picture
Jun 15, 2018 11 tweets 4 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Quick thread on what is happening in Germany right now, where Merkel’s conservative bloc of CDU and CSU is in open conflict over migration policy. #CDUCSU 1/
It is no news that Merkel’s CDU and her Bavarian CSU-allies are divided over migration - this has been the case since at least 2015. Merkel’s desire for a liberal, multilateral approach doesn’t chime well with the CSU’s desire to pull an Orban (or at least Kurz) 2/
But now CSU has upped the ante & basically demands that asylum seekers should be sent back at the German border. Merkel fears the chain-reaction this may trigger within the EU (among other reservations). She wants more time to find EU-wide solution to reduce numbers. 3/
Specifically, Merkel asked for TWO WEEKS for further EU negotations. Which is a bit of a joke if you consider how complex and protracted the migration debate in Europe is atm. But well - never underestimate Merkel’s ability to come up with some last-minute solution... 4/
So why is this row escalating NOW? Many point to Bavarian elections in October, where CSU is afraid of losing too many votes to far-right AfD. Wouldn't be the first time CSU attacks Merkel to strengthen their own profile. But there is more to this. 5/
This dispute is part of an ongoing fight about future direction of CDU & CSU more generally. Most in CSU want a hard move to the right - they cherish relations with Orban, Kurz, Salvini, and adopt their rhetoric. Some in CDU agree with this, but majority don’t. 6/
For more details on this debate, see this @euobs piece I wrote with @JGopffarth this week. (Surprise surprise - I don’t think a sharp drift to the right is the answer for German conservatives. But let’s continue...) 7/ euobserver.com/opinion/142069
Where do things go from here? The CSU runs the Interior Ministry, and thus would have the power simply to go ahead and implement its border policy even without Merkel's approval. They could just send the forces to the border. This, however, is unlikely to happen. 8/
Why? If CSU pulls through, Merkel basically has two options. 1) She accepts, which would be a statement of her absolute powerlessness, 2) She forces Seehofer out, in which case coalition likely to break down. Knowing Merkel, its v unlikely she goes for option 1... 9/
The alternative would then be to kick out CSU leader & interior minister Seehofer - which would most likely end coalition. And CSU, despite all posturing, has no interest in being put out of power. They will likely climb down - the question is just when & at what price. 10/
There are again a lot of doomsayers around, predicting the #Merkeldaemmerung. But, as rightly pointed out by other key observers of GER politics (eg @NinaDSchick,@politixs), you should never underestimate her. So far, she has still come out on top most of the times. 11/11

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More from @LeopoldTraugott

Sep 13, 2018
I wrote a piece on the recent rise of the German Green Party – while the far-right AfD makes the headlines, people should also take a closer look at what is happening on the other side of the debate.

For @LSEEuroppblog (also, short thread)
Now it’s true that, overall, AfD had bigger political impact than Greens on German political landscape over past years – not just bc of their electoral gains (see esp East Germany), but by shifting the overall debate and forcing other parties to adapt.
But there needs to be room for nuance in covering this. If you talk all the time about nativist/far-right AfD being on the rise, esp since last elections, you should also mention the simultaneous success of the liberal, cosmopolitan Green Party since.
Read 8 tweets
Aug 23, 2018
As the UK pores over the government's no-deal notices, let's have a look at how all of this is seen on the EU side.

Running thread (👇) on reactions & commentary from EU media, industry groups, politicians, etc.
German centre-left @SZ sees today's no-deal publications as partly “a threat to make the EU accommodate London in the [Brexit] negotiations.”

Writes that Theresa May uses "fear as a weapon", also against opponents within her own party.
Also Austrian daily @derStandardat writes that the UK government “has recognised that such a [no-deal] scenario can help her to exert pressure on the EU.”

Goes on to warn that “much would become more difficult for EU citizens” under a no-deal scenario. derstandard.at/2000085912487/…
Read 11 tweets
Jun 27, 2018
Some thoughts on the idea of establishing refugee “reception centres” / “disembarkation platforms” outside the EU's borders, which will be discussed at #EUCO later this week.

While the concept has some merits, its implementation is fraught with problems. [THREAD, 1/ ]
The idea, in short, is to create centres outside the EU (e.g. Northern Africa, Balkans), where refugees can lodge their asylum claims & have them assessed by authorities. If asylum is granted, they can then travel on into EU safely. 2/
There are some attractive aspects to this model. Deaths would be reduced as refugees would no longer need to cross the Mediterranean (>3.100 deaths last year) to claim asylum. Smuggling business would go down & threat to Schengen zone would be reduced. 3/
Read 15 tweets
Apr 23, 2018
I did a quick explainer for @prospect_uk on how #Brexit may affect #VAT, both domestically and in relation to EU-UK trade. Quick thread on some of the key points: prospectmagazine.co.uk/economics-and-…
1/ The UK, like all other EU member states, currently is part of the common EU VAT area. While the EU does not prescribe exact VAT rates, it put in place certain guidelines, e.g. a minimum standard rate of 15%, or limits on granting of reduced rates and exemptions.
2/ Leaving the EU presumably means leaving its VAT area (Monaco currently only non-EU state that is a member). This would have a range of serious implications, both positive and negative.

(Though some trade experts expect EU would offer UK continued membership, if asked.)
Read 10 tweets

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