German Chancellor Angela Merkel uses her mobile device as she waits for the arrival of the Prime Minister of Italy Giuseppe Conte, prior to talks at the chancellery in Berlin, Monday, June 18, 2018.
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who also leads the CSU, may be tempted to use his powers to implement his party’s call for more powers to turn away refugees registered in other European Union states. Such a direct challenge to Merkel would force her to fire Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, a Bavarian who has always been a thorn in her side on migrant policy.
“There are two or three remaining issues” to sort out, a European source close to the negotiations said.
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. However the dispute ends, it has exposed her government’s fragility at a hard time for the continent.
But it is not granted she will be able to save her leadership with the help of the EU. Seehofer entered Merkel’s government as interior minister, promising a “master plan” to tackle migration.
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.
If no agreements are reached, the idea is for Germany then to begin turning back migrants.
According to Reuter, the spokesman denied a report in Bild newspaper that Merkel was trying to arrange a special summit on migrant policy, saying such a meeting would be a matter for European Union institutions. But at same time, he made it clear that re is no “automatism”, that is to say that on July 1, if re is no agreement, borders will not be closed immediately as Seehofer wants.
There is, she insisted, “nothing automatic” about what happens next. “Others [sic] countries are even worse”.
On Sunday afternoon Merkel met with senior members of her party at the CDU headquarters to discuss the row.
“We want more sovereignty and unity”, Macron said. “We will fight for that, and on this point there’s no latitude for the chancellor.” he added.
But the interior minister was forced to cancel a planned presentation of his vision after Merkel disagreed with his proposal to turn some asylum seekers away at the borders, sparking last week’s dramatic escalation of discord within the conservative bloc.
Merkel, arguing that the issue must be resolved at the European Union level, has pledged to reach deals with transit and arrival countries in the narrow two-week window ending with the Brussels summit.
However it ends, the spat has laid bare the limits of Merkel’s authority in a fractious government that took office in March after almost six months of postelection haggling. The two parties govern with the center-left Social Democrats.
Some 49% of voters surveyed last week by pollsters Civey for Die Welt newspaper said they either “definitely” or “sooner” place trust in Seehofer to solve the perceived asylum crisis compared with 32% who said Merkel has the right approach.
In Germany, the question of how the country should handle migrants has pushed Merkel’s governing coalition to the brink of collapse.
Most first arrived in Bavaria, which borders Austria.
In 2014, before more than a million migrants arrived in Germany, 6.08 million criminal acts were recorded – a higher rate than past year.
The figures showed that police reported 5.76 million crimes in 2017, down five percent from the previous year. Around 30 per cent came from conflict-torn countries such as Syria and Iraq.