OF ALL the people stoking the pressure on Germany’s chancellor these days, the most relentless is Horst Seehofer, Bavaria’s premier and leader of its governing party, the Christian Social Union (CSU). Angela Merkel’s refugee policy, he said this week, amounts to a “reign of injustice”—or “illegality”, depending on the translation. This month he will decide whether Bavaria will sue the federal government in the constitutional court in Karlsruhe.
The argument that Mrs Merkel’s “welcome culture” is not only naive but downright illegal is popular among German conservatives. Proponents include eminent jurists such as Hans-Jürgen Papier, a former president of the constitutional court (and a member of the CSU). Claiming asylum in Germany is technically impossible for anybody arriving on a land route, he points out. Under the German constitution, since an amendment in 1993, protection is not available to people entering from “safe” states, a description that fits all nine of Germany’s neighbours.