The latest quarrel within Chancellor Angela Merkel's government about refugee policy has ended with a somewhat surreal compromise. Hans-Georg Maassen, the under-fire head of the domestic intelligence agency — formally known as the "Office for the Protection of the Constitution" (BfV) — will be stripped of his current job but gain a theoretically better one as a deputy head of the Interior Ministry.
The move is a deal between junior coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD), who demanded Maassen's removal, and conservative Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who had backed the controversial BfV head.
In a statement released late Tuesday afternoon, the German government wrote: "The Office of the President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution will be re-filled. In future Mr. Maassen will become a state secretary in the Interior Ministry. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has high regard for Mr. Maassen's abilities on questions of domestic security, but he will not be responsible for the BfV within the ministry."