Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany's finance minister, and someone of high enough ranking to actually matter, has had enough of chancellor Angela Merkel's reckless refugee crisis.
In his second attack on Merkel in a week, Schäuble Warns of Refugee "Avalanche".
Germany may be facing "an avalanche" of refugees triggered by "careless" actions, Wolfgang Schäuble, the country's powerful finance minister, has warned in a thinly-veiled criticism of his boss, chancellor Angela Merkel.
"You can trigger avalanches when a rather careless skier goes on to the slope ... and moves a bit of snow," said the 73-year-old finance minister at an economic conference on Wednesday evening. "I don't know whether we are already at the stage where the avalanche has reached the valley or whether we are [still] on first third of the slope [and there is more to come]."
It was Mr Schäuble's second attack on Ms Merkel's refugee policy in a week. On Sunday he defended interior minister Thomas de Maizière after Mr de Maizière was forced by Ms Merkel to withdraw plans for denying most Syrian refugees rights to bring their families to Germany.
Mr Schäuble's intervention helped to force the issue back on the agenda -- and gave Mr de Maizière backing to continue arguing for it, notably in a Bundestag speech on Wednesday, when the interior minister said: "We cannot double or triple our high refugee numbers through family reunion."
In a sign of the pressure Ms Merkel faces, officials confirmed this week that on October 21 Mr de Maizière had -- without telling the chancellor -- reimposed the so-called "Dublin rules" for Syrians. The EU regulations allow a country, such as Germany, to return refugees to the member state in which they first arrived in the union. The suspension of these rules was the key technical change Ms Merkel made with her "refugees welcome" announcement this summer.
Ms Merkel's power is being undermined by the challenges to her refugee policy. Still, few CDU/CSU sceptics seem prepared to seriously question her leadership, focusing instead on pushing her towards a harder line.
She and Mr Schäuble worked closely as Berlin led Europe's response to the Greek crisis. But a rift emerged over the country's most recent €86bn bailout, with Mr Schäuble taking a harder line and, some believed, even agitating for a Grexit.
If Ms Merkel were forced out, Mr Schäuble's allies see him as a likely successor: he is Germany's second most powerful leader and an increasingly critical voice on refugee policy.
Mr Schäuble has repeatedly sworn his loyalty to Ms Merkel. But MPs say he cannot forget that he was groomed for the top job for years by former chancellor Helmut Kohl only to find himself embroiled in 2000 in a party financing scandal. That opened the way for the previously little-known Ms Merkel to take over the CDU party and, later, the chancellery.
Reckless not Careless
Merkel's policies are not careless, they are downright reckless.
A skier who does not know of avalanche dangers is careless. A skier who does know of the dangers and skies anyway is reckless. Similarly, accidentally not paying attention while driving is careless, texting while driving is reckless.
Merkel has intentionally disregarded repeat warnings regarding inane political decisions. She is reckless.
Schäuble Misses Boat as Well
Schäuble misses the boat as well. As I pointed out before, a policy announcement denying families the right to hook up later, is a message "Bring the Wife and Kids Now, While You Can".
Merkel's symbolic actions to replace cash assistance with vouchers for food and shelter are as useless. When you have no food and no shelter, you are going to spend free money on food and shelter. In essence, vouchers are nearly as good as cash, just less flexible.
As for interior minister Thomas de Maizière's plan to "return refugees to the member state in which they first arrived in the union" he and Schäuble need to think ahead.
I ask what the hell is Greece supposed to do with 2 million refugees? Can't anyone in Germany look ahead?
Obviously the EU's border policy rules of requiring refugees to register at the place of first entry is broken beyond repair.
That has led to fence building all over the place except where a fence is desperately needed: between Turkey and Greece, and between Turkey and Bulgaria. Those two badly needed fences will block all land access to the EU.
As late as November 5 Merkel Reaffirmed "Refugees Welcome" Policy Over Her Own Party's Objections.
Discussion of Merkel's incompetence would not be complete without mocking her pledge to pledge to relocate 160,000 refugees from Greece and other small states incapable of handing the refugee flow.
For details, please see EU Pledged to Relocate 160,000 Refugees in One Year - Results So Far, 147 in Three Months.
Do you see the irony? Germany pledged to spread around refugees in Greece, but now Mr. de Maizière reinstituted rules allowing Germany to return refugees to Greece!
To date, I believe I am the only one who has outlined a comprehensive solution to this madness.
Mish Proposed Strategy
- Block the border between Greece and Turkey.
- Block the border between Bulgaria and Turkey.
- Stabilize Syria, even under Assad, but also seek promises of free Syrian elections
- Eliminate the free handouts.
- Give Turkey some aid for US/UK role in this mess.
- Stabilize Syria. Halt all US support for alleged "moderate" Al Qaeda rebels. Instead, arm the Kurds now fighting ISIS.
On September 18, I coined the phrase "Peak Merkel."
Today, Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany's finance minister, confirmed my analysis.