Angela Merkel's CDU set to review her migration policy

CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer wants a "comprehensive review" of Germany's immigration system. Contradicting Angela Merkel, the new party leader said scrutiny of the fateful year of 2015 was necessary.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's successor at the helm of the Christian Democrats (CDU) has told the Die Welt am Sonntag newspaper that the party will scrutinize the chancellor's migration policy since the beginning of the migration crisis in 2015.

"We will look at the entire immigration issue, from the protection of the external border to asylum procedures and integration, from the perspective of effectiveness" Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said.

Kramp-Karrenbauer, who replaced Merkel as CDU leader in December, said the party would review the immigration system at a planned workshop in February.

The European Union's border protection agency, Frontex, and Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees would take part in the talks to examine "where and what needs to be improved," she added.

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AKK contradicts Merkel

Kramp-Karrenbauer, who was Merkel's favored candidate to take over the CDU, differed from her predecessor on the topic of the 2015 migration crisis and the government's subsequent response.

Read more: Ai Weiwei: 'Refugee crisis is a political tool for populists'

Merkel said that discussions surrounding what happened in 2015, when more than a million migrants entered Germany, amounted to "wasted time," according to Die Welt am Sonntag. But Kramp-Karrenbauer said she did not fully agree.

"It would be a strange state of affairs if we in the CDU were to approach the topic comprehensively and ignore what happened in 2015," she said.

Immigration has dominated German politics since the migration crisis. The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has enjoyed repeated electoral successes across the country on the back of an ardent anti-migration platform.

jcg/amp (KNA, AFP)

Related Subjects


Merkel's successor, but not a copy

The Christian Democrats (CDU) have elected the party's secretary general and former Saarland state premier, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to replace German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Although often dubbed a "mini Merkel" by the German press, Kramp-Karrenbauer (also known as AKK) sets herself apart from the German chancellor with her more conservative policies.


Down-to-earth image

Kramp-Karrenbauer — seen here at an underground press conference at a Saarland mine in 2012 — is known for her grounded leadership style. Born in the village of Völklingen in 1962, Kramp-Karrenbauer was the youngest of six children. As a child, Kramp-Karrenbauer was an avid reader — loaning out German and Russian literature from the library, according to a recently published biography.


AKK's biggest fan

One of Kramp-Karrenbauer's biggest supporters is her husband, mining engineer Helmut Karrenbauer. The couple married in 1984 and live in the village of Püttlingen, where Kramp-Karrenbauer grew up. They have three children together — two sons and a daughter. As Kramp-Karrenbauer's political career began to take off, her husband stayed at home to take care of the kids.


Making waves in Saarland

At the age of 18, Kramp-Karrenbauer became a member of the CDU and steadily rose through party ranks in the state of Saarland. In 2000, she became Germany's first female state interior minister. A few years later in 2011, she became Saarland's first female state premier — later scoring big state election wins and catching Merkel's eye. In February 2018, she became the CDU's secretary general.


Staunchly Catholic

Emphasizing the "Christian" part of the CDU has been one of Kramp-Karrenbauer's priorities. Raised Roman Catholic, Kramp-Karrenbauer ensured that crosses would remain hanging in public buildings in Saarland. She's also faced criticism for her comments on gay marriage and abortion. In this 2013 picture, she shakes hands with former Pope Benedict. She also met Pope Francis at the Vatican last year.


A carnival fan

Although not much is known about her personal life, one thing is clear — Kramp-Karrenbauer loves carnival. She's often seen donning a bright wig or colorful costume. In 2017, she even performed as the "cleaning woman of the Saarland state parliament." She later won a prize for the performance.

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