July 01, 2018 – Bitterly Divided EU
On Thursday June 28, 2018, the EU held a crucial summit on migration. According to DW TV comments, there was no way to overestimate the importance of this “mother of all summits”.
European media indicated the fate of Germany’s current administration heavily depended on the results the Chancellor brought back to the German people. Also, the ultimate existence of the European Union itself was at stake.
DW TV referred to a report from the European Council which allegedly stated, “the number of illegal entries … has fallen by 96%” and said, therefore, the issue was not about numbers. DW TV suggested the crisis was really rooted in something deeper — something it characterized as a power struggle between moderates and the rising right.
Several Eastern European countries for years have refused to take in more war refugees and asylum seekers. At June’s 2018 EU summit, the new governments of Italy and Austria sided with them.
Back in 2015, one of them, Hungary erected a barb wire fence and instituted its own border crossings to keep refugees out. That was a clear violation of the EU’s Dublin and Schengen agreements. A New York Times 2015 article, “Explaining the rules for borders and asylum”, covered both regulations and the situation.
For other details, read our December 18, 2017 article titled, “Austria and Her Neighbors” and our June 26, 2018 article, “Migration Mutiny”.
After the Summit
A summit agreement was reached on ways to handle new migrants and lessen the burden on gateway countries like Italy and Greece. However, the issue of non-legal migration won’t disappear overnight.
Not only does the agreement depend on more cooperation from yet unnamed nations, in and outside Europe, to work; but it won’t begin to satisfy everybody. Some are unhappy about the number of temporary refugees already in Europe for years with no repatriation day in sight. Significant cultural differences are often cited.
Asylum-seekers continue to risk the journey. Terrorism is still a fear. Trade war is threatening the economic recovery. Current conditions are tailor made for more inroads by the far right.
Photo credits: Flags courtesy of EU Banking Association, License: CC BY-ND 2.0; June EU Summit photo courtesy of the Italian government
June 26, 2018 — Migration Mutiny
In Germany a major political crisis erupted on Thursday June 14, 2018 triggered by Europe’s growing migrant dilemma. The next day the DW website posted an article titled, “CDU denies role for Wolfgang Schäuble as migration policy mediator”.
In it, DW outlined the situation.
“An escalating disagreement between Merkel and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer over migrationpolicy is threatening to tear apart the ruling conservatives, who currently govern with the Social Democrats (SPD).”
“Seehofer and the CSU have threatened to go off on their own if Merkel won’t agree to their plan. Seehofer is expected to announce the start of border checks on Monday, using his authority as interior minister. If he follows through on the move, Merkel will be put in the difficult position of either backing down from her position or rebuking and possibly firing Seehofer.”
The leader of CSU did not carry out his threat on Monday the 18th. He agreed instead to hold off doing anything until after the EU Summit on Thursday June 28th.
CSU Strategy and Punt to the EU
DW TV said that politics is as involved as principle; the CSU wants to “look tough” to voters. That’s because, DW TV added, the CSU is also facing state elections in Bavaria in October where they’re hoping to defend their absolute majority against the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).
Chancellor Angela Merkel stated she felt migration is an EU problem and must be solved at the EU level. The alternative sets a precedent for more countries to decide how to handle migration on their own — like some of the Eastern European countries already have done. And that’s not the kind of conduct that she believes helps the stability of the EU.
If the Grand Coalition crumbles, new national elections seem likely. That being the case, not only could interior minister Seehofer lose his position, but Germany’s moderate chancellor may soon be out of a job as well.
A German poll in February claimed the ultra-right AfD had risen from swiftly becoming Germany’s third most popular political party to its second just since last autumn’s elections (see our March 6, 2018 article, “More Key European Votes“).
If the poll is any indication — even without new 2018 national elections — chances are high you will soon see the migration problem push Germany’s government, and other governments, further to the right.
UPDATE July 05: Today, the acute government crisis ended; Germany’s three coalition partners all agreed to continue the Grand Coalition.
Photo Credits: Brandenburg Gate by Tony Webster, License: CC BY 2.0; Interior Minister courtesy of the CSU; AfD Poster by harry_nl, License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
June 7, 2018 – Germany Wins
On June 7, 2018, DW News broke the news on TV that the German company Bayer had completed its acquisition of the US agrochemical corporation Monsanto.
According to DW, control of the world’s agriculture is now in the hands of only 4 giant corporate entities; the rest making up less than 10%.
The US conglomerate Dow-Dupont retains 17.5% of the market share DW reported. The Chinese consortium ChemChina/Syngenta is next with 28.4%.
German company BASF only has 13.4%. But, as of June 2018, Bayer tops everyone else with 30.8% making it the largest agrochemical business in the world.
On October 13, 2017, DW posted an article titled “BASF completes billion euro Bayer deal”. The article said,
“Pharma giant Bayer will sell some assets to its German rival BASF to gain regulatory approval for its takeover of US firm Monsanto, and create a company that will control more than a quarter of the world seed’s market.”
These deals mean one country dominates the world’s agrochemical industry since BASF and Bayer together are now said to hold a 43.8% share of the market.
And that could prove to be a very strategic move long term.
Photo Credits: Wheat by Wouter de Bruijn, License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0; Agro-scientist courtesy of Bayer