Merkel faces off with her rebellious allies over migration

03 Julio, 2018, 03:42 | Author: Kelly Blake
  • Merkel faces off with her rebellious allies over migration

Chancellor Angela Merkel and her rebellious political allies broke an impasse over immigration that threatened to bring down Germany's coalition government by agreeing on a compromise late Monday that both sides said addressed their concerns.

The dispute that has raised questions over the future of Germany's 3½-month-old administration pits Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and his Bavaria-only Christian Social Union against Merkel, the head of its longtime sister party, the Christian Democratic Union. Ahead of a hard Bavarian state election in October, the CSU is determined to show it's tough on migration.

Seehofer complained to fellow party bosses that he had endured a "conversation with no effect" with the chancellor on Saturday about the European Union summit results, sources told AFP.

At the national level, Merkel also proposes that migrants arriving in Germany who first registered in another European Union country should be placed in special "admissions centres" under restrictive conditions, according to a document she sent to the CSU and coalition partners the Social Democratic Party (SPD).

After the Bavarians' relentless pressure on Merkel, European leaders on Friday agreed to new measures to reduce immigration to the bloc and so-called "secondary migration" of asylum-seekers between countries.

"It was a mistake that will follow us for a long time", he said at the time.

He said that "there is an abundance of possibilities ... for compromises", but didn't specify what they were. The AfD that swept into Parliament a year ago on a wave of anti-migrant sentiment is staging a march Sunday through the heart of Berlin to protest against the government.

Merkel, now barely 100 days into her fourth term, faced a backlash from the conservative CSU after allowing more than one million asylum-seekers into Germany since 2015.

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It is not clear what effect Mr Seehofer's resignation could have on Mrs Merkel's government, which has looked increasingly precarious during the three-week standoff.

A new poll from RTL/n-TV suggests that CSU support has fallen 4.5% in Bavaria since the 2017 elections, to 34%.

What is Mrs Merkel's position?

After a two-day summit with European Union leaders in Brussels last week, Mrs Merkel believed she had struck such a deal.

Mr Seehofer's CSU has baffled voters and commentators by backing themselves into a tight corner over the migration policy.

The conflict between Angela Merkel and her Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is so severe that either she loses face or they both lose their jobs and Germany is without a chancellor, political scientist Werner J. Patzelt told RT.

"The sum of all we've agreed is equivalent to what the CSU wants - that's my personal view, but the CSU must decide for themselves", she said.

Merkel told journalists after the meeting that they had reached a deal and will create transit centres in the country from which migrants will be returned to countries they were in earlier.

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