German govt stands but no resolution in fight over migration
German govt stands but no resolution in fight over migration
GETTYCracks are beginning to appear in the German political alliance over mounting immigration tensions
18 June, 2018, 07:08
But Chancellor Merkel argued against the current proposal, saying Berlin can't unilaterally shut its borders without consulting with its European neighbors.
The disagreement between Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) sister party threatens the future of her coalition three months after it took office, just as European divisions over migrants also come to a head.
If Seehofer decides to go it alone, Merkel would have to fire him, sparking an unprecedented CDU-CSU split, political scientist Heinrich Oberreuter told business daily Handelsblatt.
The CSU under Seehofer has demanded that Germany should be able to reject migrants at the border of the countryi f they have no identity papers, are registered in another country, or have been refused refugee status previously, but Merkel believes turning them away udermine the EU's open borders Schengen Area. He has always been an outspoken critic of her decision, and in recent days the two leaders have been locked in a standoff. Both men, who champion a tougher stance on migrants, reportedly warned that the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is likely to come in dangerously close to the CSU in the upcoming state election in Bavaria. Soeder has talked of a need to end "asylum tourism".
"No one in the CSU is interested in bringing the chancellor down, or dissolving the CDU/CSU parliamentary partnership or destroying the coalition", Seehofer told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, adding that he did not want the asylum row to endanger the coalition government which is less than 100 days old. "We want to finally find a sustainable solution to the rejection of immigrants from our borders".
Seehofer and Merkel have long had an awkward relationship. The two parties are part of the same overall coalition running Germany. The inflow of migrants is "a European challenge that requires a European answer".
Angela Merkel's leadership is under threat after her alliance partner gave her two weeks to agree to turn away refugees at Germany's borders.
In an op-ed piece for the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung released later Sunday, Seehofer said he "must have the right to turn back" people who aren't entitled to enter.
Getting all of the EU states on board for an overhaul of asylum practices and rules is "in my view one of the most decisive issues for European unity", the Christian Democrat chancellor said.
But Mrs Merkel is facing major opposition from within her own Government ranks from ministers furious at her open door policy for the wave of migrants who landed in Europe in 2015.
On Sunday, the Bild newspaper reported that Merkel is working on a "special summit" before the European Union summit with countries particularly affected by migration.
The German government said no special EU summit is planned, and that would be a matter for EU leaders in Brussels, but "of course the German government is holding talks with various member states and the (EU) Commission" about immigration in Europe.
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