Saturday, 19 October, 2019

Merkel under internal pressure to abandon EU-wide solutions to migration crisis

Merkel under internal pressure to abandon EU-wide solutions to migration crisis Merkel under internal pressure to abandon EU-wide solutions to migration crisis
Patty Aguilar | 16 June, 2018, 04:30

He says German border police should turn back all asylum seekers who lack ID and those already registered in another European Union country.

Mr Seehofer is the leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU) party of Bavaria, which has pushed for a cap on asylum seeker numbers and disagrees with ruling coalition partner Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) on the issue.

Tempers within the government have frayed over the issue in recent days and the dispute has raised questions over Merkel's future, as nationalist forces already in power elsewhere in Europe turn up the heat on the long-serving chancellor for her welcoming stance toward migrants.

Its chairwoman Andrea Nahles said: "We won't allow the panic of the CSU's regional government to hold Germany and Europe hostage", she told reporters.

"It is important that the governments and not the smugglers decide who comes to Europe", he said.

Germany's finance minister, a Social Democrat, seemed to suggest that further intrigue within the coalition could end in a bloodbath.

The pair has already spoken on the phone and are in "full harmony" on migration and security policies, according to a statement from the Italian Interior Ministry.

But Merkel and Seehofer both signalled they wanted a quick end to the spat.

The German Chancellor stunned her fellow European leaders in 2015 when she announced her "open door" policy, which permitted at least one million refugees from Syria and other countries to enter the continent.

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He has said he believes that his proposed measures are "necessary" to restore "order in Germany" and that he would not "publish a half-baked plan with lazy compromises".

Merkel's refugee policy is widely blamed for a surge in support for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which became the main opposition party after September's election.

The coalition between Merkel's Christian Democrats and the Bavarian Christian Social Union is split over the latter's new proposal to limit asylum-seekers at the country's borders, Fox News reported.

But that would also lead to the collapse of her government, which has been in power for less than 100 days, and would nearly inevitably end her chancellorship. "We have to listen to the people", he told mass-circulation daily Bild.

Three years after the migration crisis erupted, the inflow has slowed dramatically but the coalition is still bickering over what would be a sustainable solution.

In the meeting, Mr Seehofer reportedly insisted that if Ms Merkel adopted his solution for Germany, it would strengthen her hand in negotiating at a European level.

"Of course they must be turned back at the border", he said.

At a four-hour meeting, lawmakers from the CSU backed Seehofer and said he might even defy Merkel by going ahead with his plan next week without her agreement. He also wants to block migrants whose asylum applications in Germany have been rejected from returning to the country.

With Austria taking over the rotating presidency of the EU on July 1, Merkel is hoping to convince Kurz to sign up to a system of "flexible solidarity", and help put in place an effective European border police.

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