Published: Fri, June 22, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Crisis averted? Minister says migrant row with Merkel can be overcome

Crisis averted? Minister says migrant row with Merkel can be overcome

German Chancellor Angela Merkel uses her mobile device as she waits for the arrival of the Prime Minister of Italy Giuseppe Conte, prior to talks at the chancellery in Berlin, Monday, June 18, 2018.

Otherwise, Berlin would introduce right after the summit a unilateral ban on refugees already registered in other EU states, said the junior governing Christian Social Union, which holds the interior ministry.

There is even talk that the 70-year-old conservative alliance between the CSU and Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) could fall apart.

Seehofer's CSU party is due to meet Monday to decide which course to take.

Mr Trump said German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition looked "tenuous".

A CSU leadership meeting Monday in Munich unanimously backed Seehofer's plan to give Merkel until the end of the month to find a solution with other European Union countries.

"Member States should take all necessary internal legislative and administrative measures to counter such movements and to closely cooperate amongst each other to this end", the text said in an indirect response to German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.

Some political analysts have speculated that the CSU manufactured the showdown with Merkel in an attempt to mobilize right-wing voters ahead of critical Bavarian state elections in October. Last year, 728,840 people sought global protection in one of 28 Community countries, which represents an annual decline of 44%, according to data released by European Asylum Agency (EASO).

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Three years after her decision to open Germany's borders to migrants fleeing war in Syria and Iraq and misery elsewhere, Merkel is still struggling to find a sustainable solution to end the grumbling from her Bavarian allies CSU over her liberal refugee policy.

Macron said it would be operational by 2021, but their plans lacked further detail.

"We support the plans of the European Commission and the Austrian Term Presidency to strengthen the security at our external borders", she said. "But we stand by our position that, if this does not succeed, turning people back immediately at the border must be possible".

Trump's threat to reduce U.S. funding for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation unless European members step up their contributions could also lead to new measures for strengthening EU defence cooperation.

If Seehofer were to defy her and go ahead with his plans on Monday, Merkel would nearly certainly be forced to fire him.

Seehofer's ultimatum has become one of the biggest challenges to Merkel's authority since she took power almost 13 years ago. Or if they had already applied for asylum and been rejected.

He then declared crime in Germany is "way up", despite statistics showing crime there is at its lowest point since 1992.

Merkel and Macron have both stressed that, as US President Donald Trump openly challenges the European Union with a trade war and over security and climate policy, the bloc must learn to stand its ground on the world stage.

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