Germany to refuse migrants from July if no European deal found: minister

Elias Hubbard
June 19, 2018

Trump has rejected criticism that his "zero-tolerance" immigration policy has caused family separations at the United States border, and instead pointed to crime in Germany as the reason tough laws are necessary.

Merkel would still have options if the CSU quit the coalition: Greens leader Annalena Baerbock refused on Monday to rule out replacing the CSU in Merkel's coalition.

The tweets come as Merkel is in a stand-off with her interior minister over new immigration curbs.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who heads Bavaria's Christian Social Union party, insists the chancellor reach a deal by the end of June with European Union governments facilitating the return of migrants to those countries where they were first registered.

Merkel has been asking her coalition to delay addressing the question until European Union leaders convene in Brussels to discuss immigration and other issues affecting the 28 members of the bloc on June 28 and 29. He also wished Merkel "much luck" in her negotiations with other European nations, expected to take place at the European Council on June 28-29, and said his party supports "any European decision" aimed at resolving the migration problem.

Several high profile crimes by migrants - including the 2016 Christmas market attack by a failed Tunisian asylum seeker as well as the recent rape-murder of a teenage girl allegedly by an Iraqi - have also helped to fuel anger.

The case of a German teenager who was believed to have been stabbed to death in a supermarket by her Afghan asylum seeker boyfriend is due to be heard in court on Monday. But Seehofer's party faces a crucial election in October, and it is determined to toughen its stance on migration, faced with the growing popularity of the anti-immigrant, populist party Alternative for Germany.

Seehofer told Bild am Sonntag: "No one in the CSU has an interest in bringing down the chancellor, to break up the CDU/CSU parliamentary alliance or to blow up the coalition".

For all the noise, the CSU knows that there is more at stake. The Trump administration could end the policy today and revert to what it was before, that when families cross the border they will be held together in immigration detention.

Ahead of the meetings, CSU secretary general Markus Blume said Seehofer's "masterplan" on migration had the party's "full support".

In accepting the compromise, Merkel looks to be having a last throw of the dice to avert unilateral action by Germany that she argues would risk a "domino effect", collapsing the entire European Union asylum process and unravel the bloc's already frayed unity. "But let's also remember that this situation isn't unique to the border", he wrote.

Whichever option he chooses, the ball will land in Merkel's court.

But the chancellor may have no choice, as Seehofer could still launch the nuclear option of shutting Germany's borders in defiance of her - an act of rebellion which would force her to sack him.

Commenting on the supposed deadline for Merkel to negotiate an EU-wide solution, Seehofer said that "the whole issue is not about these 14 days but about fundamental differences" between the leadership of the two sister parties.

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

On Tuesday, President Trump is set to meet with Congress to discuss immigration, with two bills that will be heard on the house floor this week.

On Sunday, a government spokesman said Merkel was seeking talks with some European Union members on migrant policy before the leaders summit at the end of the month although denied a report in Bild that she was trying to set up a special summit.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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