Angela Merkel deflects coalition crisis with compromise

Aaron Brown
July 4, 2018

German Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer insisted on his plan to turn away asylum seekers at the border with Austria registered in other European countries, as he rejected EU deals reached last week by Merkel as inadequate.

Officials of Mrs Merkel's Christian Democrat party broke off their own separate meeting in Berlin about an hour earlier, saying they would resume at 8.30am.

Asylum seekers already registered in other European Union nations would be held in "transit centres" while awaiting deportation.

The deal envisages special transit zones at the German border with Austria where migrants already registered in other European Union countries will be held. However, as per reports, questions were already being asked about how it will work on the border with Austria.

Under the new policy, which is still pending approval of the Social Democrats, another party in Merkel's delicate coalition, Germany would create so-called "transit centers" along the border.

After gruelling talks, Merkel and Seehofer agreed late Monday to hold migrants in "transit centres" on the Austrian frontier to allow the speedy processing of asylum seekers and the repatriation of those rejected.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel survived a bruising challenge to her authority with a compromise deal on immigration but faced charges Tuesday that it spelled a final farewell to her welcoming stance toward refugees.

If Merkel holds firm and Seehofer does quit, the CSU could offer a replacement interior minister if it aims to remain tied to her party.

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"The sum total of everything we have agreed upon has the same effect" as what Mr Seehofer has demanded, Ms Merkel said in an interview with ZDF television.

Seehofer, 68, has been a headache for Merkel, especially over her open-door migrant policy, and the last three years have been punctuated by a series of showdowns between the two.

The direct rejection was the biggest issue in the asylum conflict of the sister parties CDU and CSU.

In comments to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper ahead of Monday's renewed talks with Merkel, Seehofer complained he was in an "inconceivable" situation.

Almost three years have passed since German Chancellor Angela Merkel first made the famous declaration that "Wir schaffen das", or "we can do this", in response to a massive influx of asylum seekers from Syria and other Asian and African countries who had become trapped in Hungary.

Before the sides met, CDU leaders and lawmakers stressed the importance of maintaining the conservative alliance, Germany's strongest political force for much of its post-war history.

"Our goal remains a joint European solution with orderly protection of the exterior borders, and centers in third countries, ' said Kurz, whose nation took over the rotating EU presidency on Saturday".

The party is keen to be seen as tough on migration, a concern among many voters, and to stop the rise of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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