Germany migrants: Merkel allies leave Seehofer isolated

Germany migrants: Merkel allies leave Seehofer isolated

Germany migrants: Merkel allies leave Seehofer isolated

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition was facing an uncertain future, as her hardline conservative interior minister Sunday offered his resignation after weeks of battling to change her mind on migrant policy.

News agency Dpa said that Horst Seehofer, the leader of the Bavarian-only Christian Social Union which is in coalition with Mrs Merkel, was planning to announce his resignation.

The CSU and Mrs Merkel's CDU have been allies since 1949 but the CSU faces a state election in Bavaria in October, and its anti-immigration stance is its main campaign platform.

Patzelt also thinks there is a high probability that Seehofer, who has previously issued warnings to such effect, will use his power to make sure that asylum seekers are refused entry to Germany if they have already been registered in another European country.

According to the document sent to the CSU and fellow coalition partner the Social Democratic Party, Merkel is proposing that migrants arriving in Germany who first registered in another European Union country should be placed in special holding centres under restrictive conditions.

In the interview, Merkel said she regretted any misunderstandings, but that she had been given "political commitments", and had not said any deals had been signed.

"I'm happy we were able to achieve this compromise, and it shows that it pays off to fight for your convictions", Seehofer said. He insisted the CSU doesn't want to break up the conservative partnership.

Merkel, now barely 100 days into her fourth term, faced a backlash from the conservative CSU after allowing more than one million asylum-seekers into Germany since 2015.

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Mr Seehofer, 68, has been a headache for Ms Merkel, especially over her open-door migrant policy, and the last three years have been punctuated by a series of showdowns between the two. Nationally the party would be down to 5% - the threshold for entering the Bundestag - rather than 6.2% before.

But the CSU and CDU together form a center-right force that has dominated national politics for decades.

In controlling Germany's southern border to a greater degree than it has been recently, Germany will establish transit zones where migrants will be screened and those who have already applied to asylum elsewhere in Europe sent there - a move upholding the word of European law as laid out in the so-called Dublin regulations.

At the Brussels summit, some 14 European Union states had agreed to take back migrants who reached Germany, Ms. Merkel's government said.

She reiterated her determination to act in a way that was "not unilateral and that are not to the detriment of third parties" - highlighting her continued opposition to Seehofer's demand to turn back refugees at the border.

"The sum of all we've agreed is equivalent to what the CSU wants", she said.

The divisions within the German government over the issue are also being played out in other European Union countries, and three countries later said they were not part of the German deal: the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

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