Published: Tue, June 19, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Merkel accepts CSU offer to delay ban on migrants: DPA

Merkel accepts CSU offer to delay ban on migrants: DPA

Ms Merkel opposes such unilateral action, arguing it would increase pressure on countries such as Italy and Greece and weaken the EU.

In an op-ed piece for the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung released later Sunday, Seehofer said he "must have the right to turn back" people who aren't entitled to enter.

But the chancellor contradicted her ally on steps that should be taken in Germany, saying that "there will be no automatism" in rejecting asylum seekers following European Union negotiations.

The changes are being pushed by the CDU's Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union (CSU), led by interior minister Horst Seehofer, a long-standing critic of Mrs Merkel and her support for mass immigration.

Merkel's ruling coalition has fractured over a new proposed policy that would turn away more asylum seekers at the country's borders. But the state has since soured on such generosity.

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In an unprecedented split between the CDU and CSU, Seehofer has openly defied Merkel with a demand to allow border police to turn back migrants who lack valid identity papers or are already registered in another European Union country.

The chancellor and her Christian Democrats pledged in the agreement defining the terms of their government that 2015 would remain an exception that was not to be repeated. But "we want finally to have a sustainable solution for turning back refugees at our borders". "Of course, it would be good if there is a European solution, but in three years that hasn't been reached".

But she reiterated her opposition to Germany unilaterally closing its borders as this would pass the migrant burden on to neighbouring countries, "unleashing undesired domino effects".

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, left, talks to Chancellor Angela Merkel in parliament. It is historic, with some countries the most risky places in the world.

The CSU leadership agreed at a meeting in Munich to delay introducing their entry ban until after a 28-29 June EU summit, allowing Merkel time to seek an EU-wide solution.

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But the migration issue has stymied the partners for years, and the recent rise of euroskeptic governments has not made the efforts easier. It would also deal a blow to the EU's Schengen open-border system.

An act of rebellion from Seehofer could force her to sack him, which "would be the end of the government and the alliance between CDU and CSU", an unnamed CDU source told Bild.

In that scenario, Merkel could lead a minority government with the third party in the coalition, the Social Democrats (SPD), or call fresh elections that would likely benefit only the AfD, he said.

The issue has come to a head in the last week with a new Italian government refusing to let a ship with hundreds of migrants dock at its ports.

The German Chancellor will host the French President for talks on European Union reform, especially the flashpoint issue of immigration now dividing the bloc.

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