Correspondent in Berlin
Sebastian Kurz he has visited Berlin twice in the last two months without meeting Chancellor Merkel. Scheduling problems, the German government spokesman office has played down. But on this latest visit, before the September 26 elections mark the end of the Merkel era, the two heads of government yesterday exuded sympathy and complicity. As a parting gift, Kurz presented Merkel with a perpetual pass for the Salzburg Festival, summertime appointment with the opera to which the chancellor and her husband, Joachim Sauer, they have tried not to be absent during the last four legislatures. He also spoke highly of the “fruitful cooperation” between the two governments. “We are losing a female head of government who has shaped the European Union like no other,” he said, mentioning the “incredible wealth of experience” that Merkel “has brought to all the debates.” “Not only me, but all the heads of government in the European Council will miss her very much, thanks for everything Angela,” he finished. But while Merkel continues to search tirelessly for a way to move Afghans in distress to Germany, Kurz made no secret that Austria is suspicious of a new wave of refugees.
At the ministerial level and while this farewell was taking place, Germany and Austria yesterday strongly rejected the criticism of the Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, who had compared the Austrian position with those of Orbán, Salvini and Le Pen. “Mr Asselborn should look a little more closely at the problems that the big countries have in the European Union,” said Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, we are not talking about a few hundred people. ” “These are simply absurd statements,” said Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, recalling that the country is home to the fourth largest community of Afghans in the world per capita and the second largest within the EU, ” they would be welcome if Asselborn showed a similar level of solidarity and humanity.
For that, Luxembourg would have to host six times as many Afghans as currently living there. But neither Kurz nor Merkel were interested yesterday in pulling that thread. The Chancellor wanted to tiptoe through an issue that could benefit the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party electorally and preferred a photo of the set with the recently re-elected leader of the Austrian Conservatives by almost 95 percent of the delegates of his party, the ÖVP. Merkel’s march elevates Kurz as an essential reference point for the European right, a successful, young and attractive benchmark, although with a significantly different nuance in terms of refugees and much more economical in terms of European expenses.
The CDU did not miss the occasion. The Austrian conservative was awarded the Ludwig Erhard medal on his way through Berlin, in an event in which he met with the former leader of the parliamentary group Friedrich Merz, who is currently fighting for a direct mandate for the Bundestag from the Hochsauerland district and represents the most liberal wing of the party. Kurz will also appear in the campaign with the candidate for chancellor, Armin Laschet, although he is not the figure of the CDU with