Chancellor Angela Merkel has got her Interior Minister Horst Seehofer to agree to wait for an upcoming EU summit before imposing new border controls. His asylum reform plan could threaten the EU immigration system.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing another tough day in the ongoing stand-off with her ally Horst Seehofer, interior minister and leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister-party to her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
The row is centered on an asylum system reform plan Seehofer wants to implement in Germany, which would see migrants who had already been registered in another European Union country turned away at the German border.
This would breach the EU's Dublin immigration system and threaten the principle of free movement within the EU, especially if, as Merkel fears, other EU countries impose similar border controls.
The CDU and the CSU are holding separate leadership meetings on Monday. The CSU is likely to give Seehofer's plan the green light. If the interior minister does then go ahead and implement it unilaterally, Germany's coalition government could eventually collapse.
Over the weekend, Merkel won a small victory by managing to get Seehofer to agree to wait for a European summit, planned for the end of the month, so that a new bloc-wide asylum reform could be agreed.
Seehofer set out his position in a guest column in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Monday, in which he agreed that a European solution was necessary, but said, "I must have the right to turn people away" in cases where people do not have a right to enter under European law.
He called on the EU summit produce resolutions "that recognize Germany's burdens in migration policy, that guarantee an effective protection of the EU's external borders and a fair distribution of people with residency rights, as well as a speedy return of people without residency rights."
Seehofer's CSU is facing a stiff headwind from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in Bavaria's state election in October. A tough stance on migration is being interpreted as the most effective way to ward off the challenge by the populists.
Both Merkel and Seehofer are due to give press conferences on Monday afternoon.
Author: Ben Knight
First published: June 18, 2018
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