Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Debate Over Migrant Crisis Threatens To Topple Germany's Government

GETTY•BUNDESTAGAngela Merkel could be replace as German Chancellor as soon as next week claims Kai Whittaker GETTY•BUNDESTAGAngela Merkel could be replace as German Chancellor as soon as next week claims Kai Whittaker
Andrew Cummings | 22 June, 2018, 14:07

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is calling for Germany to turn back at its border migrants previously registered as asylum-seekers in other European countries.

Germany's interior minister is insisting that his party has no intention of bringing down Chancellor Angela Merkel and her government, but there's no sign yet of a compromise in a bitter standoff over migration.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she will hold talks with other European countries on migration issues and report back to her party on July 1.

Merkel, arguing that the issue must be resolved at the European Union level, has pledged to reach deals with transit and arrival countries in the narrow two-week window ending with the Brussels summit.

"We're seeing small, positive developments, and we must of course continue to do more on the fight against crime", she said.

Seehofer's ultimatum has become one of the biggest challenges to Merkel's authority since she took power almost 13 years ago.

Merkel has lobbied for time to reach a broader deal and avoid border controls, which threaten to undermine the bloc's principles of free movement.

After the tweet, the president defended his stance during a press conference and repeated his claims.

Seehofer argued that as the interior minister he has the right to implement such measures, even if the chancellor opposes them.

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Merkel said she would seek agreement with European nations at a June 28-29 EU summit, but stressed there was "no automatism" about rejecting asylum seekers if no deals are reached.

Despite the migrant policy headache, Macron and Merkel might find more common ground on deeper European Union economic integration.

As outlined in his "migration master plan", Seehofer wants to refuse asylum access to German territory if they have already formally entered the Schengen zone via another country.

It's the first time Trump has openly criticised Germany's immigration policy since he took office past year, although he was previously critical of their immigration policy during the presidential campaign when he called Angela Merkel's decision to leave the country's borders open to Syrian refugees as "insane".

The row with Bavaria's CSU, which faces a tough election in October, has piled the pressure on her to deliver.

The Franco-German ministerial meeting, being held at the Meseberg castle north of Berlin, is seen as key for forging a consensus ahead of a crunch European Union summit on June 28-29.

However, her political capital is being eroded by a row with her Bavarian allies, who have given the chancellor two weeks to find a European solution to their immigration dispute.

But Italy's refusal last week to allow a ship carrying 630 rescued migrants to dock on its shores has shattered the bloc's fragile status quo on dealing with the wave of people fleeing war and misery in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere since 2015.

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