Austria says ready to protect borders if Germany moves on migrants

Alicia Cross
July 4, 2018

Ms Merkel would have hoped she had put the crisis that threatened to bring down her government behind her when she hammered out the last-minute compromise with Horst Seehofer, her rebellious interior minister, on Monday night.

Merkel's other coalition, the Social Democratic Party, has yet to agree to the deal.

Merkel and the Christian Democrats adamantly opposed that approach, arguing it was imperative to involve other European Union nations in devising an effective new migration policy.

A resignation would eliminate the main opponent to Merkel's key proposals for asylum reform and for further European integration.

He said the two conservative parties in the governing coalition had agreed on how to prevent illegal migration across the border from Austria.

While Seehofer's comparatively strong stance has caused this clash with Merkel, the Bavarian leader remains a centre-right figure fundamentally unopposed to mass migration, and the new compromise will do nothing to undo the effects of decades of mass migration to Germany - most dramatically those million-plus arrivals who walked through Europe during the migrant crisis.

Merkel and Seehofer, who heads Bavaria's ruling Christian Social Union (CSU), pulled back from the brink as they risked a coalition split that could have unraveled Merkel's chancellorship after nearly 13 years.

Under the deal brokered in Brussels, EU leaders agreed to consider setting up "disembarkation platforms" outside the bloc, most likely in North Africa, in a bid to discourage migrants and refugees boarding EU-bound boats.

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Seehofer and Merkel's agreement Monday would establish camps where arriving migrants would be screened to determine whether they'd sought asylum elsewhere in the EU.

He also believes that these elections "would revolve on the immigration issue" with no chance of victory for the Christian Democratic Union.

Supporters of German AfD wave flags in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, May 27, 2018.

At the national level, Merkel proposes that migrants arriving in Germany who first registered in another European Union country should be placed in special "admission centres" under restrictive conditions, according to a document she sent to the CSU and SPD.

That left him with only three options. He insisted the CSU doesn't want to break up the conservative partnership.

The conflict's political driving forces, including a state election in Bavaria in October, "will remain with us for months to come", he said.

Meanwhile for Merkel's troops, "the image of the country, our ability to act and our ability to govern" were at stake, said economy minister and close Merkel ally Peter Altmaier. But a Forsa poll on Tuesday showed a majority of Germans to be unhappy about the agreement.

If he does go, rather than challenge her leadership, it will stun even Merkel's most sympathetic supporters. By suspending the European Union's Dublin regulations, which govern where immigrants are allowed to apply for asylum, Merkel took Hungary's burden and made it Germany's.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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