German coalition fracturing over immigration issues, Seehofer set to resign

German interior minister 'offers to resign' over migrants

German interior minister 'offers to resign' over migrants

He told Sky News: "The problem is, the agreement only exists between the CSU, Seehofer's party and Angela Merkel's CDU".

And this week that split - personified by German interior minister and CSU leader Horst Seehofer - brought Germany's government to the brink of collapse. "We now have a clear agreement on how to prevent illegal immigration across the Austrian-German border in the future", he added.

Applicants in these centers-which would be built on the border with Austria-could then be turned away and sent back to whatever European Union country they came from.

The BBC's Jenny Hill in Berlin says Mr Seehofer may have overplayed his hand by issuing his ultimatum, only for Mrs Merkel to return from Brussels on Friday with an EU-wide strategy and bilateral agreements with more than 10 countries.

"As such the spirit of partnership in the European Union is preserved and at the same time an important step to order and control secondary migration and that's why I think that we have found a good compromise after tough negotiations and hard days".

Merkel could have fired Seehofer.

They have agreed to a plan for so-called transit centres, from which people who have sought asylum in a different European Union country can be sent back to their arrival point, if the other state agrees.

Merkel's CDU relies on the CSU to maintain power through a coalition.

"We think this is good because now we are getting back down to business", Nahles said after a meeting of coalition leaders in the chancellery.

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The compromise, which also depends on her Social Democrats (SPD) coalition partners and Austria giving it the nod, met scathing criticism in the German media.

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

Her turnaround was prompted by her Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, who has demanded that migrants at the border must have papers before advancing past the German welcome mat.

As the CDU and CSU parties hunkered down in Berlin and Munich, leaders on both sides sought to clarify what was a stake.

Securing the consent of other European Union countries was crucial, she said, adding: "That's why I consider the deal for now as an uncovered cheque".

Patzelt points out that what Merkel "sells as a threat to European integration" is considered by Seehofer and the CSU as a suitable means of stopping immigration to Germany and to Europe.

German politicians who criticized the agreement say Merkel and her conservatives had abandoned the country's moral mission.

The row underlined the deep divisions that remain within Europe on how to deal with the migrants who have arrived in the last three years.

That decision convulsed European politics, fueling the rise of anti-immigration parties including the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which now threatens to unseat the CSU in October's regional elections.

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