Pressure grows on Merkel to tighten refugee policies

Elias Hubbard
June 14, 2018

Angela Merkel was facing a possible government crisis on Tuesday as a deep rift opened with one of her coalition partners over migrant policy.

"She was looking at me, you know what we were doing?"

Seehofer's main demand is that asylum seekers should be turned back at the German border if it is established that they entered the European Union in another country or if they have already applied for asylum in Germany and had their applications turned down.

"The withdrawal, so to speak, via tweet is of course. sobering and a bit depressing", Merkel said in an ARD television interview following the G7 summit in Canada.

The interior ministry said in a statement that the unveiling of the plan had been pushed back because "several points still need to be agreed".

The anti-immigration AfD said Seehofer must prevail.

"Italy is going further than other states: migrants will not be accepted in the ports any more".

Salvini and Seehofer were in "full harmony on security and immigration policies", said the interior ministry in Rome after a phone call between the two ministers. She is reported to have told Seehofer and Bavaria's minister president, Markus Söder, she was prepared to compromise by striking bilateral agreements with the European Union countries most affected by new arrivals, including Italy and Greece, but it is understood they turned that idea down.

He has said he believes that his proposed measures are "necessary" to restore "order in Germany" and that he would not "publish a half-baked plan with lazy compromises".

Seehofer, a former leader of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) which is facing a hard regional election in October, wants to show he is toughening up the rules in his 63-point master plan.

The annual meet was held on Friday and Saturday and was marked by acrimony as the US President arrived late, left early to prepare for his June 12 meeting with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, refused to sign the joint statement released at the end of the summit, attacked the trade policies of member nations at a press conference and then personally targetted Canada's Justin Trudeau on Twitter. Turning back migrants at the border, she said this week, would only add pressure to neighboring countries such as Italy and Greece. We are sticking to them and whoever reneges on them is showing incoherence and inconsistency.

It too rejects stepping up German border controls of asylum seekers, which it says goes against the spirit of the Schengen passport-free zone.

Kurz won the chancellery previous year in an alliance with the far-right vowing to tackle illegal immigration, an issue that also propelled a populist alliance to power in Italy. "And then hope that the European Union will respond again in the same unity".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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