German Interior Minister offers to resign over asylum policy

German Interior Minister offers to resign over asylum policy

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, was on Sunday night once again fighting for her political future after her interior minister slammed the migration deal she secured with her European Union counterparts last week as "ineffective".

It is unclear what effect Seehofer's resignation as interior minister and CSU leader, if he goes through with it, would have on the two conservative parties' governing coalition with the centre-left Social Democrats.

Seehofer, whose party faces a state election in the fall with a strong challenge from the far-right Alternative for Germany party, has threatened to turn away at the borders migrants whose asylum requests Germany already rejected or who already sought asylum elsewhere in Europe.

Merkel's centre-right CDU party and its conservative Bavarian CSU allies are holding separate meetings to weigh the results of last week's European Union summit, which agreed collective measures by the bloc's 28 members to reduce immigration.

CDU general secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said earlier that party leaders were "united" behind Merkel and "effective, humane solutions together with our European partners".

Seehofer, who has demanded that Merkel toughen her open-doors refugee policy, earlier told colleagues that in spite of the measures agreed with European Union leaders, he saw no alternative to turning some migrants back at the border, a party source said.

After a meeting with Seehofer on Saturday evening, Merkel told the German broadcaster ZDF on Sunday that the two people's meeting had "pretty good results", and she hoped to further work with her political ally CSU.

A document she sent to the CSU and SPD also outlined deals with 16 other countries to return already-registered migrants if they reached Germany.

If the CSU were to withdraw its support for Ms. Merkel's party, her options would include joining forces with the migration-friendly Greens or heading a minority government.

Merkel, who has been in office since 2005, warned last week the issue of migration could decide the future of the EU. The German leader would not comment Sunday on the talks.

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But dpa reported that Mr Seehofer told the forum he thinks the measures do not adequately accomplish his goals.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has drawn up a raft of measures to tighten controls on the influx of migrants, according to a document submitted to her coalition partners Saturday as she battles for political survival.

One possibility is for the 70-year-old CDU and CSU alliance to split which would rob Merkel of her parliamentary majority.

Seehofer and Merkel are in a dispute over Germany's asylum policy.

Merkel's Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian sister party will hold joint talks later in the day in Berlin in an effort to broker an 11th-hour compromise after separate discussions that dragged into the early morning hours failed to end the standoff.

Bavarian governor Markus Soeder arrives for a board meeting on the German migration policy in Munich, southern Germany, Sunday, July 1, 2018.

Opinion polls point to the AfD making a similarly spectacular entrance to Bavaria's parliament in October.

He could defy her orders by ordering border police to carry out his plan, which would force her to fire him and nearly certainly break up the CDU-CSU alliance, or he could accept a humiliating climbdown or resign.

The CSU leader and interior minister said he would meet with Angela Merkel one last time to seek a compromise in the asylum policy dispute.

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