Merkel secures deal with 14 European Union nations on migrants

Merkel secures deal with 14 European Union nations on migrants

Dpa reported Sunday night that unidentified people present at a meeting of CSU leaders said Interior Minister Horst Seehofer was planning to announce his resignation.

Merkel's centre-right CDU party and its conservative Bavarian CSU allies are holding separate meetings to weigh the results of last week's European Union summit, which agreed collective measures by the bloc's 28 members to reduce immigration.

Merkel's CDU relies on CSU to maintain power through a coalition, also including the Social Democrats (SPD), formed three months ago after an election in September.

"In the interest of the country and the ability by the coalition to act, we want to try to find a way to unify on this central question: border control and refusal, only on this question", Seehofer said early Monday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared to survive a threat to her governing coalition over migration policies Sunday, in the midst of an anti-migrant, populist wave taking shape across the European Union.

Seehofer wants to turn some asylum-seekers back at Germany's border, but Merkel is adamant that Germany shouldn't take unilateral action.

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer arrives for a Christian Social Union (CSU) leadership meeting in Munich, Germany July 1, 2018.

CDU general secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said earlier that party leaders were "united" behind Merkel and "effective, humane solutions together with our European partners".

In a document sent to leaders of her coalition partners, seen by Reuters, Merkel listed 14 countries, including some of those most outspoken in their opposition to her open-door refugee policy, which had agreed to take back migrants.

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If Seehofer resigns, he added, that wouldn't automatically mean the CSU's other ministers being withdrawn from the government.

The EU and bilateral deals were "only possible because the chancellor enjoys respect and authority throughout Europe", Germany's EU Commissioner and CDU politician Guenther Oettinger said in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung weekly.

Over recent days, speculation had focused on the possibility of Merkel firing Seehofer if he went ahead unilaterally with his plan. But the CSU is split itself on how far to push the row with the CDU, and faces a tough regional election in October with a strong challenge from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

She could also call a vote of no confidence, which she may win or which may trigger a new election.

If Merkel holds firm and Seehofer does quit, the CSU could offer a replacement interior minister if it aims to remain tied to her party. That would likely end the seven-decade partnership of the CDU and CSU, which have a joint parliamentary group, and in turn would leave the government just short of a majority.

Volker Bouffier, premier of the state of Hessen and Merkel's close ally, said that the CSU should be pleased at what it had achieved so far as he arrived at a similarly protracted meeting of his and Merkel's CDU in Berlin.

Its success was based on strident anti-immigration rhetoric, attacking Mrs Merkel's decision to let in more than a million asylum seekers in 2015-2016.

"I understand that this is a dramatic attempt to save her own position, but absolutely there is no agreement", Jacek Sasin, a senior Polish government official said, on public television on Sunday.

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