Conservative ‘Berlin Circle’ Stirring Rebellion Within Merkel’s Party
The conservative Berlin Circle is a traditionalist group within German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and is planning to return the party to its conservative roots.
Comprised of members of both federal and local governments, the Berlin Circle firmly rejects the migrant and social policies of party leader Chancellor Merkel. The group also dismisses the prevalent concept that Germany is a “country of immigrants” and claims that “gender ideology” is largely an attack on the majority heterosexual population of the country, reportsDie Welt.
One of the luminaries of the Circle is Alexander Gauland who left the CDU to become vice-chair of the anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany (AfD). Like Gauland, many in the Circle believe in traditional values and are opposed to mass migration. MPs Sylvia Pantel and Philipp Lengsfeld see it as their duty to change the course of the party and overthrow those in power.
“We are taking the old approach of the Greens: one does not need a majority to carry out positive things,” said Lengsfeld claiming that the group had championed the issue of home ownership for families, which brought the topic into the mainstream.
Some may see parallels between their tactics and those of UKIP leader Nigel Farage who, despite not having a seat in Britain’s parliament at the time, managed to force the Conservative government to grant the referendum on European Union (EU) membership that led to Brexit.
Headed by MP Wolfgang Bosbach (pictured), the group intends to assert their influence in the coming federal elections next year. The Berlin Circle’s manifesto includes: re-criminalising individuals who show sympathy to terror oganisations; secure EU borders; build asylum centres on the borders; and officially recognise more safe countries of origin for deportation.MP Lengsfeld also notes that Germany isn’t a country of immigrants but rather: “We are a country with immigration – that is something completely different.”
On the subject of family and marriage, the Circle is far more conservative than most European politicians asserting: “The term marriage means solely the relationship between two people, a husband and wife.”
The group also slams what they call “gender ideologies” saying that the teaching of gender theory in schools should be stopped and that “commitment to tolerance must not result in discrimination against [the] heterosexual majority population”. They also support legislation to fund men or women who wish to be stay-at-home parents.
After the drubbing of the CDU in local elections, primarily by the AfD, many in the party are openly rebelling against the leadership of Chancellor Merkel who recently announcedher intention to run for a fourth term as Chancellor. Even the sister part of the CDU, the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), has expressed reservations going forward with leader Horst Seehofer debating whether or not to campaign with Merkel next year.