Published: Mon, June 18, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Merkel says to support Italy in tackling migration challenge

Merkel says to support Italy in tackling migration challenge

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg after a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Friday, June 15, 2018.

Joachim Herrmann, Bavaria's interior minister, insisted the CSU was not intending to destabilise the CDU.

Merkel has reportedly urged Seehofer to give her until the European Union summit at the end of June, but the Bavarian has kept up pressure for a solution to be found in the coming days.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel sits in a vehicle as she arrives for a leaders meeting of her Christion Democratic Union party at the party's headquarters in Berlin on Monday.

The CSU - which faces an election threat from the AfD in October state polls - has refused to budge and set Merkel an effective ultimatum of next Monday.

Top CSU leaders huddled Monday morning in the party's home base of Munich.

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He wants Germany to send back migrants who have already registered in other European Union countries.

There is even talk that the 70-year-old conservative alliance between the CSU and Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) could fall apart. "Angela Merkel and Horst Seehofer simply must pull together", he said, warning that the alternative would be "chaos".

Seehofer on Monday agreed to implement his immigration "master plan" step by step, stopping short of unilaterally enforcing a policy opposed by Merkel while she attempts to find a solution at European level, sources have told German news agency DPA.

Should Seehofer opt to institute border controls immediately, it would force Merkel to make a fateful choice: Acquiesce and emerge a dramatically weakened leader, or fire Seehofer and risk a break with the CSU that could bring her government crashing down. But "we want finally to have a sustainable solution for turning back refugees at our borders". But he said the aim should be a "consensual solution" and wrote that it was "of decisive significance that the European Union summit at the end of June finally makes decisions that recognize Germany's burdens in migrant policy".

Mrs Merkel is trying to get France to create a joint proposal with her to tighten asylum rules before the European Union leaders summit in late June. "The situation is serious but still solvable".

Alternatively, if the CSU splits from the CDU and becomes an opposition party, the governing coalition would be left with 353 seats, one short of a majority, potentially triggering the collapse of the government.

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Austria, governed by a center-right and far-right coalition, has also vowed to take a much tougher stand. But pointedly, Kurz announced the plan with Seehofer, not Merkel, standing by his side.

Under Merkel, German opened its borders to welcome around 1 million asylum-seekers in 2015.

"There is a context here of rising criminality, which to a statistical degree is part of the migrant problem", he said, adding that Democrats in the USA and Merkel in Germany both "neglected to their peril" the opposition among citizens to illegal immigration and lax border security.

Macron offered his backing to Merkel, telling reporters: "Countries are committed to the paths taken by their heads of state or government".

Later in the day, she will host the new Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, who is heading a government with an anti-immigration agenda.

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