Photo of the day
Happy birthday, Judas
Horst Seehofer, the man who single-handedly brought the German government to the brink of collapse last week, turned 69 today. Chancellor Angela Merkel, who kept her job by the skin of her teeth on Monday after a weeks-long asylum row with her rogue interior minister, put on a brave face to congratulate him in the Bundestag. After all, as Mr. Seehofer not-so-modestly put it before the make-or-break talks on Monday night, Ms. Merkel “is only chancellor because of me.” Source:
Quote of the day
‘Axis’ gets cold feet
Until last week, Austria’s right-wing chancellor was keen to support Horst Seehofer’s hardline stance on asylum seekers. He called for an “axis” against illegal immigration, although many pointed out that practical aspects of Mr. Seehofer's proposed crackdown at Germany’s borders would be problematic for Vienna. Now that the German government might go ahead with this plan, Mr. Kurz has changed his tune. “We see that as prompting us to take action to prevent negative consequences for Austria and its population,” he said.
Person of the day
Not going anywhere
The head of Poland's supreme court, Malgorzata Gersdorf, turned up to work on Wednesday in defiance of the country’s right-wing government. As of today, a new law retroactively lowered the retirement age to 65, sending her and more than a third of top judges into early retirement. Ms. Gersdorf likened the controversial move to a “purge” to enable the government to replace them with sympathetic judges. She said she would remain in her post until her six-year term ends in 2020. The EU criticized the law, saying it undermined the independence of Poland's judiciary. Source:
Graphic of the day
Out of control? Really?
A look at the inflow of refugees over the past two years makes the narrowly-averted government crisis in Berlin even more puzzling. The number of asylum applications in Germany during the first five months 2018 was less than one-tenth of the 2016 total, while the intake for other EU countries slowed to a trickle. It’s no wonder that German voters are unimpressed by Horst Seehofer: 69 percent of respondents say they would like the interior minister to resign, according to a new poll released today, on his 69th birthday.
Mic-drop of the day
The next time you're having a bad birthday, think of all that Mr. Seehofer had to put up with today. Besides abysmal poll figures, he had to endure a roasting from opposition parties at a plenary session in the Bundestag. While the pro-business Free Democrats accused him of jeopardizing the government's stability, a Left Party lawmaker didn’t mince his words. He called the asylum debate that engulfed the conservative bloc “undignified and irresponsible.” Then, turning to Mr. Seehofer, he reminded him what the C in his party's name, the CSU, stands for: Christian.