The German Chancellor told Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer at the eleventh hour she would not be attending an event in Munster, western Germany, to mark the opening of the CDU campaign for next month’s European elections, German newspaper Welt am Sonntag has reported. Angela Merkel’s successor, who took over as CDU leader at the end of last year, had already told her party the German Chancellor would be attending and as a result ordered corresponding security measures be taken. This is the latest in a series of embarrassing snubs towards the woman once labelled “mini-Merkel”, raising questions over how the two leading figures in German politics want the CDU to move forward.
The Chancellor has already told Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer she will not be taking part in any future political campaigning, despite the party facing crucial upcoming elections in the autumn in Germany.
The new CDU leader had also organised a series of policy workshops in an attempt to reconnect the party with its grassroots, but Mrs Merkel has turned down invitations to attend.
Party insiders claim the German Chancellor made clear last year she would ease off party engagements to enable her successor to raise her profile before she completely steps away in 2021.
But Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer will have been left furious by the latest embarrassing snub, fearing it indicates Mrs Merkel is not a fan of her more adopted conservative style.
Since taking over as CDU chairwoman, she has been steering the party towards the right on important issues such as asylum and gay rights.
Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer has also reportedly offered Federich Merz, a long-time rival of Ms Merkel and a pro-business conservative, a key ministerial role when the Chancellor departs in two-years-time.
Rival party the Social Democrats have been quick to pounce on any uncertainty at the top of German politics.
In a post on Twitter, SD leader Ralf Stegner claimed Mrs Merkel’s non-attendance at the key European elections meeting is down to “disputes over political direction and party personnel.”
Despite this latest snub, the German Chancellor is set to attend the final meeting for the European elections in Munich next month.
But she has still made clear she sees this event as being for the European People’s Party, the centre-right EU faction, because several of its other party leaders will also be appearing.
Mrs Merkel is currently under pressure to step down as German Chancellor and immediately be replaced by Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer before the European elections over fears her role is dwindling in the ruling CDU/CSU alliance.
The Conservative value union said Mrs Merkel must step back after the European elections in May, despite plans for her to stand down as Chancellor before the next national election, due in 2021.
Speaking to newspapers of the Funke media group Alexander Mitsch, value union chairman, said: “As the Union is even worse off than the already miserable result of the general election.
“That's why we need the policy change as soon as possible.
"I think it would be best if the process of handing over Government responsibility to Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer and Mr Merz is launched after the European elections."
“Most leading contenders do not want an early challenge, even if that means waiting and supporting the Prime Minister until December.”