Germany's Seehofer announces deal with Merkel, drops threat to quit

Jul 04, 2018, 13:22
Germany's Seehofer announces deal with Merkel, drops threat to quit

Apparently, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is unwilling to accommodate these needs of the CSU.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer struck a migration deal.

From the beginning, the challenge presented by the immigration crisis has been about more than just procedures and raw numbers (or as one resident of a small German town put it, "how do you integrate 150 refugees in Abensberg?").

Before the refugee crisis of 2015, Seehofer was mainly concerned with regional pet projects tolerated by Merkel, such as rewarding mothers who raise young children at home with state benefits and charging foreign motorists for using Germany's Autobahn.

Under the deal, Germany will set up transit centres on its border with Austria where asylum seekers will be held while their cases are decided. In controlling Germany's southern border to a greater degree than it has been recently, Germany will establish transit zones where migrants will be screened and those who have already applied to asylum elsewhere in Europe sent there - a move upholding the word of European law as laid out in the so-called Dublin regulations.

In such a circumstance, Merkel would no longer have a parliamentary majority, and consequently, there would be new elections, Patzelt explains.

At the national level, Merkel also proposed that migrants arriving in Germany who first registered in another European Union country should be placed in special "admissions centers" under restrictive conditions, according to a document she sent to the CSU and the Socialists.

Germany's political crisis is the latest sign of a growing divide across the European Union between those who want to maintain open borders and those who want to restrict the number of migrants entering the bloc.

"But how we get there I can not assess", he said.

"I said that I would vacate both my offices (as federal interior minister and CSU party chief) in the next three days", Seehofer told reporters in Munich after talks with his party stretching into the small hours.

After facing push-back over her long-held open-door policies that have allowed hundreds of thousands of immigrants into her country, German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave in on Monday.

But by forcing Merkel to campaign for a much tougher European Union line on migration, Seehofer has already scored a humiliating victory, with Soeder gloating that "without Bavaria's clear position, Berlin would not have moved as quickly".

It would establish camps, called "transit centers", at points along the border.

The deal Ms Merkel made with Mr Seehofer still has to be agreed by her main coalition partner, the Social Democrats (SPD).

The conflict's political driving forces, including a state election in Bavaria in October, "will remain with us for months to come", he said.

Meanwhile, the SPD said they would be meeting to discuss whether the compromise between the two conservative parties was acceptable to them.

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