Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble rose to Angela Merkel’s defense as the embattled chancellor faces an organized protest by members of her party against keeping Germany open for refugees.
Schaeuble’s backing in a newspaper interview throws the weight of her most senior Cabinet member behind the chancellor after her approval rating slid to the lowest since 2011. At the same time, Schaeuble pressed Germany’s partners in the European Union to do more to secure the bloc’s outer border and sign off on 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) in aid to Turkey, which is hosting more than 2 million Syrian refugees.
Lawmakers in Merkel’s Christian Democrat-led parliamentary bloc plan to hand in a letter at the chancellery on Monday demanding that she bar refugees arriving from other EU countries, according to a lawmaker involved in the drafting who asked not to identified because the letter isn’t public yet. While it’s unclear how many of Merkel’s 311 caucus members will sign up, the protest is focusing dissent that’s built up for months and has grown more public since mass sexual assaults in Cologne on New Year’s Eve.