Trump slams Merkel over immigration policy

Trump also weighed in on Italy’s new conservative regime, calling Conte a “really great guy”. (AP)

Trump also weighed in on Italy’s new conservative regime, calling Conte a “really great guy”. (AP)

United States President Donald Trump has stoked concern over the stability of Germany’s coalition government amid infighting over the European country’s immigration policy.

On Monday Trump claimed in a tweet that Germans “are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition. Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!”


The former reality TV star — infamous for accusing Mexican immigrants of perpetrating a laundry list of crimes during his 2015 presidential campaign — added: “We don’t want what is happening with immigration in Europe to happen with us!”

Germany’s immigration fight has to do with an ultimatum presented by the country’s interior minister, Horst Seehofer, which would see Germany turn away all migrants who have already registered elsewhere in the European Union (EU).

Seehofer is the leader of the Bavarian Christian Social Union party, which is in a governing alliance with Merkel’s Christian Democrats party. The Interior Minister threatened to unilaterally implement this policy, effectively bypassing immigration stance, but has since agreed to hold off on “master plan”.

Seehofer warned that he would give Merkel a fortnight to find a European deal to curb new arrivals by the EU summit, failing which he vowed to order border police to turn back migrants. Merkel rejected the threat, saying there would be “no automatism” if no European deals were found. 

In a press conference, Merkel warned that a decision to turn away migrants at German borders could have “negative domino effects that would also harm Germany”.The escalation of tensions between Merkel and her allies, followed EU nations once again at loggerheads over immigration policy, triggered by Italy’s refusal this month to allow a rescue ship carrying 630 African migrants, including children and pregnant women, to dock.

READ MORE: Spain gives refuge after Italy’s Trump-approved prime minister rejects migrants

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s approach to the refugee ship, a move which contravened international law requiring states to help a vessel in distress, put to the test the Italian government’s new position on European diplomacy.

In his maiden speech to the Italian Parliament he made this position clear: “The first litmus test of the new way we want to negotiate with our European partners will be the issue of immigration,” he said.“It’s clear to everyone that the management of migrant flows has been a failure: Europe has allowed many member states selfish border closures, which have ended up burdening frontline states and especially our country, with costs and difficulties that should have been shared.”

Trump also weighed in on Italy’s new conservative regime, calling Conte a “really great guy”.

Trump’s administration has recently come under fire for its “zero-tolerance” border security policy.

READ MORE: US lawmakers, First Lady call for end to migrant family separations

During one recent six-week period, the government said nearly 2 000 minors were separated from their parents or adult guardians as a direct result of this policy.

The number of separations has jumped since early May, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that all migrants illegally crossing the US border with Mexico would be arrested, regardless of whether the adults were seeking asylum.

Sarah Smit

Sarah Smit

Sarah Smit both subs and writes for the Mail & Guardian. She joined the M&G after completing her master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Cape Town. She is interested in the literature of the contemporary black diaspora and its intersection with queer aesthetics of solidarity. Her recent work considers the connections between South African literary history and literature from the rest of the Continent. Read more from Sarah Smit

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