Tuesday 17 July 2018

Border dispute risks bringing down Merkel's fragile coalition

German Chancellor and leader of the German Christian Democrats (CDU) Angela Merkel. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
German Chancellor and leader of the German Christian Democrats (CDU) Angela Merkel. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Geir Moulson

Chancellor Angela Merkel's allies in Bavaria averted an immediate crisis yesterday that threatened to topple the German leader by allowing her two weeks to make deals on migration with the EU.

The move put a stay on a threat to turn migrants back unilaterally at Germany's border.

Ms Merkel said she would report back on July 1 on the results of her negotiations.

Her interior minister, Horst Seehofer, has been calling for Germany to turn back migrants at the border who have previously applied for asylum or registered as asylum-seekers in other European countries.

Ms Merkel opposes such unilateral action, arguing it would increase pressure on countries such as Italy and Greece and weaken the EU.

"It is in Germany's interest to achieve the regulation of migration in a good partnership with our European neighbours," Ms Merkel said.

Mr Seehofer said: "If this does not succeed, turning people back immediately at the border must be possible."

The spat over immigration has laid bare the deep tensions in a fractious German coalition government that took office only in March, after nearly six months of post-election haggling, and exposed the limits of Ms Merkel's powers.

Irish Independent

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