Angela Merkel Faces Ultimatum From Ally Over Migrants

Elias Hubbard
June 19, 2018

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door migrant policy is widely blamed for the rise of the right-wing AfD, now the main opposition party in Germany's federal parliament.

For the the Bavarian party, however, "the real dilemma they face is between accepting the bilateral deals Merkel brokers, or enforcing their plan unilaterally with the risk of Seehofer being fired".

The chancellor, who is scheduled to meet her French counterpart Emmanuel Macron next week, said Germany and France would seek to set the agenda for European Union cooperation on defense, security and foreign policy ahead of the June summit. And she has stuck to her insistence that there needs to be a European-wide solution to migration issues, despite a lack of progress so far.

With both the European Union and her own government dangerously divided on the issue, Ms. Merkel wants to gradually move toward general agreement, while simultaneously devising bilateral deals between the countries worst affected by the crisis.

"We think that turning people back without consultation at our borders, as a country at the heart of Europe, could lead to negative domino effects that could also hurt Germany and ultimately lead to the questioning of European unity". For her part, Merkel said there would be no "automatic action" and issued a warning that she was in charge of implementing measures - a thinly veiled threat that she can sack him if he goes his own way. She said her party will consider the results on July 1 "and decide how to proceed in light of what has been achieved".

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

"We wish the chancellor success in this", he said.

"But we stick to our position that should the immediate rejection at the border not be possible, I would immediately order the police that people who either have prohibition of entry or prohibition of stay should be immediately turned away at the border", he said. "Angela Merkel and Horst Seehofer simply must pull together", he said, warning that the alternative would be "chaos".

His proposals were a surprise to many - a few months ago, Seehofer appeared to rule out rejecting people at the border, calling at the time for detention centers to house asylum seekers while their claims were processed.

"I've got the support of the European partners for negotiations in the European Council".

The CSU is more conservative than Merkel's CDU and its paramount aim is to maintain its dominance in Bavaria. The influx has led to an anti-migrant backlash in Italy, where many arrivals first landed, and in Germany, the preferred end destination for many refugees.

"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.

The defiance by Merkel's smaller, more conservative Bavarian sister party is still a blow to the chancellor and will further embolden the hard-line stances of countries such as Hungary, Italy and Austria.

She asked the CSU to give her two weeks to come up with deals similar to one agreed between Turkey and the European Union in 2016, which means migrants arriving in Greece are sent back to Turkey if they do not apply for asylum.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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