President Trump doubles down on immigration amid backlash

  • President Trump doubles down on immigration amid backlash

President Trump doubles down on immigration amid backlash

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has backed down from a threat to bypass Chancellor Angela Merkel in a disagreement over immigration policy, bringing reprieve to Merkel's biggest political crisis to date.

Mr Seehofer proposed last week to offer power to turn away undocumented migrants at the border if they have already been registered in another European Union country.

The policy would undermine Mrs Merkel's authority after she operated an open-door approach in 2015 which led to thousands of migrants entering Germany after first coming to the European Union through another country.

Without the CSU, Merkel's coalition, which also includes the Social Democrats, would lose its parliamentary majority.

His party holds a leadership meeting Monday which could authorize Seehofer to push through his demand. A struggle over migration policy has threatened her government.

There is even talk that the 70-year-old conservative parliamentary alliance between the CDU and CSU could collapse.

A showdown over immigration between Merkel and her conservative CSU allies has escalated in the last week but on Sunday there were signs of a possible compromise when Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who is CSU chairman, said the row could be overcome.

The survey found that 62 percent of respondents were in favor of turning back undocumented migrants at the border, in line with the stance of Seehofer who is openly challenging Merkel.

Macron also said Paris and Berlin wanted agreements that would allow European Union member states to reject at their borders asylum seekers already registered elsewhere in the bloc - usually the first port of entry.

Seehofer's party met in Munich to affirm its backing for his so-called migration masterplan comprising 63 measures, the most contentious of which is to start turning migrants away at the border. 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. Or if they had already applied for asylum and been rejected.

Merkel, however, opposes any unilateral move to reverse her 2015 open-door policy and undermine her authority. The CSU is determined to show that it's tough on migration, arguing that this is the best way to cut support for the anti-migration, far-right Alternative for Germany party ahead of a challenging state election in Bavaria in October.

Macron offered his backing to Merkel, telling reporters: "Countries are committed to the paths taken by their heads of state or government".

Despite the migrant policy headache, Macron and Merkel might find more common ground on deeper European Union economic integration.

Merkel has had an often-tense history with Seehofer, and their relationship became really hard after Merkel's 2015 decision to keep Germany's borders open as migrants streamed across the Balkans.

By contrast, Merkel has warned of a resulting domino effect as Germany's neighbors rush to shutter their internal Schengen borders and is calling for a joint European solution to the "refugee crisis" to be reached within the next two weeks.