Merkel Faces Showdown in Germany Over Migrant Policy

Merkel Faces Showdown in Germany Over Migrant Policy

In addition, Knaus said, the emphasis on transit centres would mean Bavaria bearing most of the administrative burden of registering and processing refugees and migrants who arrive in Germany.

Merkel, however, rejected a key provision: turning back at the border all migrants previously registered in another European Union country as a unilateral act that would come at the expense of other member states. "There's no way out of the government for us and no way we'll end (the alliance) right now".

Her coalition partners have opted not to sink the government for now.

Despite the drama over Mr. Seehofer's resignation threat on Sunday, several political analysts said the most likely outcome was for both parties to walk back and find a last-minute compromise.

Seehofer and Merkel, who have long had a hard relationship, have sparred over migrant policy on and off since 2015.

At the heart of the dispute are Mr. Seehofer's plans - part of a 63-page "master plan" circulated to CSU leaders - to reserve the right to reject some asylum seekers, who have already registered in other European Union countries, when they reach the German border. Its leader, Andrea Nahles, said the party will closely examine the agreement. Securing the consent of other European Union countries was crucial, she said, adding: "That's why I consider the deal for now as an uncovered cheque". "I have the impression that he is interested in a sensible solution", Seehofer said before a party meeting. In a meeting with his party leaders on Sunday night, Seehofer offered to resign from his ministerial role and party leadership, reports said.

But he also struck a conciliatory tone, saying "there is an abundance of possibilities ... for compromises", without specifying what they were. He repeatedly postponed a news conference to announce his decision, and some members of his party were still attempting to convince him to stay on, Reuters reported.

The Forsa poll showed that 54 percent of Germans would have favored a CDU-CSU split over the migration question while 38 percent welcomed the agreement and the unity of the two sister parties.

In a sign of mounting frustration, Seehofer reportedly told CSU colleagues that he "travelled especially to Berlin but the chancellor is moving zero point zero" per cent with her stance.

Last weekend's marathon Brussels talks in search of a "European solution" and the meetings between Merkel and Seehofer that followed have cast considerable doubt over that trifecta. Merkel meets UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Hungary's Viktor Orban on Thursday, before heading to a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit with Trump next week.

The deal sets up zones along the border with Austria to facilitate quick deportations for migrants not allowed to seek asylum in Germany.

Some Social Democrats accuse the CSU of wanting to appear tough on immigration before a regional election in Bavaria in October where the conservatives are expected to lose voters to the anti-immigrant party Alternative for Germany.

"I want Europe to remain together", she said.

Related Articles