Chaos in Merkel's coalition after key minister offers to resign
02 July, 2018, 16:16 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
Mr. Seehofer, after talks with Ms. Merkel on Saturday evening, complained the conversation was "ineffective" as the chancellor refused to budge her position on the European Union deal. Seehofer had initially proposed an immediate rejection of immigrants who have been registered in other European Union countries but later agreed to a phased implementation of the plan, contradicting Merkel's stance on the matter.
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.
When Merkel rejected the plan two weeks ago, Seehofer threatened to unilaterally implement his border control measures, using his authority as interior minister over the federal police. The German leader would not comment Sunday on the talks.
Apparently unafraid of the risks, the CDU on Sunday offered its sister party no outstretched hand in the fight over a European approach versus unilateral national measures to slash migrant numbers.
But earlier, Bavaria's premier Markus Soeder, mindful of the October regional elections, was positive.
The governing coalition - which would then consist only of the CDU and Social Democrats (SPD) - would be short of a majority and Merkel would either have to rule with a minority government or seek the formal support of the Green Party or the pro-business FDP.
He added he would meet with Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) on Monday in hopes of reaching an agreement "in the interests of this country and the ability of our coalition and government to rule, which we want to preserve". Party leader Andrea Nahles said that "the CSU is on a unsafe ego trip that is paralyzing Germany and Europe".
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German press agency DPA reported that at the meeting Seehofer proposed resigning as the leader of CSU and the interior minister, but senior party officials reportedly opposed the move.
Ms Merkel also secured agreement from Greece and Spain to take back from Germany migrants who previously registered in those countries.
That would likely end the seven-decade partnership of the CDU and CSU, which have a joint parliamentary group, in turn leaving the government just short of a majority.
Will divisions over migration split Germany's conservative coalition and spell the end of the line for Chancellor Angela Merkel?
Political stability was upset by Merkel's 2015 decision to keep borders open to migrants and refugees arriving in Bavaria from the Middle East via the Balkans, Hungary and Austria.
The latest flare-up was triggered when Seehofer announced a 63-point "migration master plan" last month, which Merkel refused to endorse due to the proposal to reject asylum seekers already registered elsewhere.
Ahead of a hard Bavarian state election in October, the CSU is determined to show it is tough on migration.
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