Germans ‘turning against their leaders’ over immigration


In this Wednesday, June 13, 2018 photo, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, talks to Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, left, prior to the weekly cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin.

A showdown over immigration between Angela Merkel and her conservative CSU allies has escalated in the last week but on Sunday there were signs of a possible compromise.

Angela Merkel's rebellious interior minister appears to have given her more time to work out a European solution to the refugee crisis, and possibly to save her disunited government.

European Union countries are once again at loggerheads over migration, triggered by Italy's recent refusal to allow a rescue ship carrying 630 migrants to dock.

The Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) is demanding Merkel get tough on refugees and asylum seekers, with the party facing a critical vote in regional elections. That banished - if only for now - the spectre of Seehofer pushing through his proposal in defiance of the chancellor, which would risk bringing down her government. But doing so would bring down her government and her own political career would nearly certainly be over.

Seehofer - then the governor of Bavaria, where most migrants first entered Germany - became a leading critic of her welcoming approach.

"The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition", he said.

Merkel said she would seek agreement with European nations at a June 28-29 EU summit, but stressed there was "no automatism" about rejecting asylum seekers if no deals are reached.

There is, she insisted, "nothing automatic" about what happens next. Merkel said she will have to discuss "what is important for others; I can't say today what that is".

The tweets come as Merkel is in a stand-off with her interior minister over new immigration curbs.

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Mrs Merkel is in the middle of a serious domestic row after defending her country's immigration policy.

"An important part of the masterplan is the possibility of turning people back at the border", Soeder told reporters ahead of the meeting in Munich.

"We wish the chancellor success in this", he said.

"We just want to finally have a sustainable solution to send refugees back to the borders". "If we're in a talks situation in a few weeks, we'll talk", she said.

And 86 percent want faster deportations of rejected asylum seekers, a process now often held up by bureaucratic hurdles and legal challenges, according to the Infratest dimap poll.

Seehofer's ultimatum has become one of the biggest challenges to Merkel's authority since she took power almost 13 years ago.

Merkel and Seehofer papered over the cracks ahead of last year's national election, but support for both parties still dropped significantly.

Germany's migration row mirrors squalls seen across Europe since Merkel's decision in 2015 to open Germany's borders to more than a million migrants fleeing wars in the Middle East, transforming the demographic landscape nearly overnight. More than 1 million migrants came to Germany in 2015 and 2016, though numbers have since dropped sharply.

The survey turns up the pressure on Merkel, who has faced a backlash for allowing into Germany more than one million people fleeing war and misery in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere since 2015.

The office said 728,470 application requests were made for global protection in 2017, compared to nearly 1.3 million applications the previous year.