The dispute over asylum policy in Germany has become symptomatic of Europe’s struggle to find an EU-wide solution. Media across Europe are reflecting divided positions.
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel has come under growing pressure by her coalition partners to find joint European solutions by the beginning of July. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer of the Christian Social Union (CSU) has threatened to unilaterally impose new border controls and turn back certain asylum seekers at Germany's borders if Merkel does not deliver a bloc-wide solution.
The EU summit at the end of June will be a key moment in Merkel’s fight for political survival but also for migration policy in the European Union. Many European media have commented on the issue.
De Telegraaf, Netherlands
"Finally, Europe is facing reality. The asylum crisis exists. Italy no longer wants to take in asylum seekers who have no perspective of staying. The integration of millions of migrants is stagnating. In Germany, a bomb has now exploded. Only a tougher asylum policy can save Angela Merkel’s coalition. Head of governments will meet at the end of the month to find a solution to the crisis. Prime Minister Mark Rutte has, quite rightly, confirmed he will be there. There is only one solution Rutte can aim for: to send back immediately asylum seekers without any perspective of remaining, and not let them enter Europe in the first place. Only that way, European countries like the Netherlands can offer protection to those people who really need it."
Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Switzerland
"The threats by the CSU are on the verge of failing and the end game threatens to become most dangerous for the CSU itself. The party has put off its voters for years by not implementing their favored policies while still sharing their opinion. Maybe the party could well have continued in this trade-off, but now it has maneuvered itself into a delicate position: It wants to prove its credibility by implementing the single issue of migration. The CSU will either pull through or else it may soon wish it had never called for this asylum reform in the first place. The party is putting itself to the test publicly. If it doesn’t pass, it may well be punished during the state elections in Bavaria in October. Rightly so."
Guardian, United Kingdom
"This crisis is not just about the attraction of Europe or the US. It is just as much about the dreadful conditions in Central America, Eritrea, Syria and Afghanistan. So long as these countries are sunk in anarchy or ravaged by war, desperate people will leave them. Mrs Merkel wants the burden of refugees spread across Europe and that is right. But any lasting solution must reach beyond the borders of the countries of refuge. This does not mean filling north Africa with internment camps. In the long run, generous aid to bring peace and the conditions of prosperity to the countries which refugees now flee will prove essential."
Der Standard, Austria
"Merkel has won some time, but nothing else. She is still under pressure to deliver and it is questionable whether she will be able to find a solution that satisfies the coalition sister party, CSU. So far she has not succeeded in her attempt to distribute refugees fairly among EU member states. Endeavors could become even harder to achieve when under pressure. Whether anyone - even Merkel - still cares about the fate of human beings, or if it's just about a better solution for Europe, is an open question."
US President Donald Trump also commented on the EU migration crisis, saying Europe made "a big mistake" by accepting migrants as he faces growing pressure to end the separation of immigrant families on the US border with Mexico.
In a series of tweets defending US policy, Trump attacked German Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying Germans are "turning against their leadership" over migration.
"We don't want what is happening with immigration in Europe to happen with us!" "Crime in Germany is way up," he added. "Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!"