German Chancellor Angela Merkel has agreed to tighten up on immigration in a move to prevent the collapse of her coalition government. Responding to a rebellion by her coalition partner and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), Dr Merkel, who had staked her legacy on making her country a welcoming home for immigrants, now says she will tighten the border with next-door neighbour Austria and build border camps for asylum seekers. Conservatives and the far-right are enthused; others fear one more nail has been driven into the heart of the European liberal order. There is fear that multilateralism will be reversed and, worse, that there will be a revival of the nationalism of the past.
Germany's "Iron Frau" or "mutti" (mother), as Dr Merkel is variously known, is still popular. Goads, such as those from US President Donald Trump - who claimed Germans are turning against their leadership and alleged that crime there was up 10 per cent since it started allowing migrants in - may prick her politically but not fatally wound her. Nevertheless, the reason for her current vulnerability and the root of the political crisis is a split in the coalition. This is because Mr Seehofer's CSU faces elections in its Bavarian stronghold, where it is pitted against the resurgent far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. Mr Seehofer's positions are driven by fear of AfD.
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