German MP predicts Merkel could be ousted end of next week

The German chancellor is facing a challenge from her hardline interior minister

Merkel is due to hold a press conference on Monday.

But the chancellor's pledge has been met with skepticism by some CSU politicians, who question the possibility of reaching an EU-wide agreement after several years of failed attempts.

She said she would report back July 1 on the results of her negotiations, and that as far as she's concerned it's not yet clear what will happen if there's no European deal on the divisive topic.

The standoff pitted Merkel and her center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) against its more hard-line Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU). The CSU lost thousands of voters to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in federal elections past year, and is fearful of further losses.

The new measures would be applied particularly to migrants, who either registered or applied for asylum in another European Union country, the interior minister said.

If he actually does so unilaterally in defiance of the chancellor, many observers believe Merkel would likely have to fire him - which in turn could effectively end her current governing coalition and the conservative parties' decades-old alliance in national politics.

"No one in the CSU has an interest in bringing down the chancellor, dissolving the CDU-CSU joint parliamentary group, or blowing up the coalition", Seehofer was quoted as telling the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. But he said the aim should be a "consensual solution" and wrote that it was "of decisive significance that the European Union summit at the end of June finally makes decisions that recognize Germany's burdens in migrant policy".

BAVARIAN BEEF 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.

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She has pledged instead to seek bilateral agreements with arrival and transit countries and a wider solution by the European Union, which holds its next summit on June 28-29, while admitting that this plan is "ambitious". "The situation is serious but still solvable".

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, secretary general of Mrs Merkel's CDU Party, said: "It could weaken our negotiating position and potentially impact other areas such as the euro".

But Italy's refusal last week to allow a ship carrying 630 rescued migrants to dock on its shores has shattered the bloc's fragile status quo on dealing with the wave of people fleeing war and misery in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere since 2015.

Bavarian governor Markus Soeder and the party's top federal lawmaker, Alexander Dobrindt, have been even more vehement than Seehofer in demanding immediate action on migration. But pointedly, Kurz announced the plan with Seehofer, not Merkel, standing by his side.

Seehofer entered Merkel's government as interior minister, promising a "master plan" to tackle migration.

Germany had the most asylum seekers of any European nation, with more than 200,000.

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

But after the pair agreed last October to try to limit Germany's refugee intake to 200,000 a year - a policy Seehofer had long called for and Merkel had previously ruled out - tensions seemed to fade.

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