Germany's Merkel seeks European solution to migrant dispute

Germany's Merkel seeks European solution to migrant dispute

This comment was made after it emerged that Germany's interior minister Horst Seehofer, leader of the CSU Party which has formed a coalition with Merkel's own CDU, is calling for tougher immigration laws in defiance of the Chancellor's existing stance on the matter.

In her weekly video message Saturday, Merkel named migration as one of four major challenges to be addressed by German and French leaders when she meets Macron in Germany on Tuesday along with ministers from both governments. Merkel has common sense on her side when she argues that there has to be a European fix. Germany's interior minister vowed to begin turning back migrants at the border by July if Angela Merkel fails to find solutions with European partners, but the chancellor rejected the threat.

"We are opening a new chapter", she said.

Seehofer and Merkel lead parties that have allied with each other for decades and that have formed the basis for successive Merkel governments since she first came to power in 2005.

However, he added that Merkel is likely to stay on as chancellor "because probably even her opponents from the CSU will not dare to bring down the government".

Speaking to dpa on Tuesday, Bavarian governor Markus Soeder (CSU) expressed skepticism that Merkel would succeed in meeting the tight deadline set by the CSU.

If Seehofer, backed by his CSU, were to defy her by enforcing the plan on Monday, Merkel would be nearly certainly forced to fire him.

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On Sunday, the Bild newspaper reported that Merkel is working on a "special summit" before the European Union summit with countries particularly affected by migration.

"She will need the reassurance for example that, if later on or even now there is an European Union solution, border control can be relaxed again in the future". Without the CSU, Merkel's coalition, which also includes the Social Democrats, would lose its parliamentary majority.

Merkel has faced opposition at home for a decision in 2015 to open Germany's borders to hundreds of thousands of migrants, mostly Middle Eastern asylum seekers who crossed by sea from Turkey to Greece and overland through the Balkans. On Monday, reports emerged that Seehofer has agreed to give Merkel two weeks to come up with a solution, but the situation is still highly concerning for investors already anxious about politics in the European region.

The document, whose wording might still change, is not public but was seen by Reuters before the June 28-29 European Union summit, where all 28 European Union leaders will lock horns again over migration, an issue that has bitterly divided them.

The CSU's top priority is a hard October state election in Bavaria in which it is trying to tamp down support for the anti-migration Alternative for Germany party.

Crime has fallen off dramatically in Germany, with the country's internal ministry reporting last month that criminal offenses in Germany totaled 5.76 million in 2017, the lowest number since 1992, leading to the lowest crime rate for the country in more than 30 years.

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