Published: Sat, June 16, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Merkel's government frays as migrant row festers in Germany

Merkel's government frays as migrant row festers in Germany

Many conservatives held that policy responsible for a surge in support for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), the main opposition party since national elections in September.

The standoff has reignited a dispute that erupted in 2015 when Ms. Merkel opened the country's borders to hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers, some of whom had become stranded in Eastern Europe.

On Wednesday in Berlin after meeting with Seehofer, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz voiced support for his ideas, saying it made sense for Rome, Vienna and Berlin to work together on the migration issue. She argues that it could prompt other countries to follow suit, and that an EU-wide solution is needed.

The tweet, which was picked up by a number of outlets including German tabloid Bild and news agency Reuters, claimed Seehofer had pulled his party out of the so-called "Union" with Merkel's Christian Democrats.

Angela Merkel has a mutiny on her hands.

Merkel now faces intense pressure to get deals with European Union partners by the summit.

Germany has seen more than 1 million asylum seekers since 2015 and Merkel has acknowledged the need to improve systems and strengthen the European Union's external borders.

Hans Michelbach, deputy head of the CSU faction in the federal parliament, said the report was "rubbish", stressing the CSU wanted to maintain its alliance with the CDU and preserve the coalition. Although, failure to do so in which the CSU deem any immigration solution as too soft, the Interior Minister could utilise his ministerial powers impose new and tougher immigrations rules.

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Soeder and his party colleague Horst Seehofer - Germany's interior minister - want to send police to the border to turn back migrants who have registered as refugees in other European countries.

The survey found that 62 per cent of respondents were in favour of turning back undocumented asylum seekers at the border, in line with the stance of Seehofer who is openly challenging Merkel. Merkel has warned that such a move could shift the burden onto countries such as Italy and Greece.

Seehofer's CSU and Merkel's Christian Democrats have collaborated without interruption throughout the post-war period, but their alliance is in jeopardy as a result of deep rifts over how to resolve a stand-off on migration, setting the German establishment on edge.

But with other EU members, most prominently Italy and France, at loggerheads on the issue, and with Merkel having admitted herself it is highly unlikely a European deal can be reached so quickly, the decision to wait until 28 June might do little other than buy Merkel a stay of execution.

"It challenges both our competition authorities and the EU's, and raises the question of whether they need to get involved in the matter of the big concentration of big platforms from the USA".

The disagreement between Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) sister party threatens the future of her coalition three months after it took office, just as European divisions over migrants also come to a head.

If Seehofer decides to go it alone, Merkel would have to fire him, sparking an unprecedented CDU-CSU split, political scientist Heinrich Oberreuter told business daily Handelsblatt.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz rebuked both sides, saying, "the job of governing our country is not an episode of 'Game of Thrones'".

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