Horst Seehofer's plan to accommodate boat refugees divides the Union

Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer wants a quota system for the reception of boat refugees from the Mediterranean. This plan is controversial in its own ranks. Union faction leader Ralph Brinkhaus (CDU) explicitly distanced himself from Seehofer's offer to accept every fourth boat rescued from Italy in Germany. "This was an initiative of the Minister of the Interior, not the CDU / CSU parliamentary group," said Brinkhaus the newspapers of the Funke media group. Seehofer expressed incomprehension about the criticism and defended his advance.


Seehofer had submitted his quota proposal about two weeks ago. Next Tuesday, EU interior ministers will discuss the distribution mechanism developed by Germany, France, Italy and Malta. Other EU countries will then be made to join the mechanism.


 Ralph Brinkhaus

Kay Nietfeld / dpa

Ralph Brinkhaus


Brinkhaus wondered, "which signal to send if you want to receive 25 per cent of the rescued refugees." He warned, "We must not encourage tug organizations to do more." The faction will look very closely at Seehofer's plans.


Seehofer defends the "emergency mechanism"


Seehofer reaffirmed in the "Welt am Sonntag" his hint that it is only about relatively low numbers of people: In the past 15 months, only 225 such rescued rescued refugees were taken in Germany. "That's no secret and there have been no debates so far," said the CSU politician.


Seehofer rejected the warning cited by Brinkhaus that the fixed takeover rate could incite people smuggling. "In no way do we want to use this mechanism to support the inhumane business of smugglers," says Seehofer. "Should the emergency mechanism set false incentives or be misused, I can end it unilaterally for Germany at any time without further consultation."


The CDU interior politician Armin Schuster jumped Seehofer aside. "I'm a bit upset about the own faction," he said on Deutschlandfunk. It is only about a few hundred refugees a year, who were rescued on the Mediterranean. "You have to leave the church in the village," Schuster said.


Seehofer's initiative was already met with criticism from other Union politicians – such as his colleague Andrea Lindholz (CSU), who presides over the Bundestag committee. Above all, she had criticized the rigid quotas and warned that only the really vulnerable would be redistributed among the boat refugees.


So far there is no EU-wide regulation for dealing with boat refugees, which are taken up in the context of the sea rescue in the Mediterranean. The EU Commission must try anew at every incoming ship to find governments that are ready to accept.

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