Germany's migrants: Seehofer 'offers to resign' over migrants

Fraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson

A resolution to Germany's government crisis proved elusive Sunday after the head of the Bavaria-only Christian Social Union in Angela Merkel's conservative bloc offered his resignation rather than back down from his stance against the chancellor's migration policies.

Since then, more than one million people have arrived in Germany, while Merkel's governments have repeatedly tightened immigration and asylum laws.

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.

The document circulated by Merkel to her coalition partners after the summit said 14 countries had agreed "on a political level" to take back some migrants who had passed through other European Union countries on their way to Germany.

The dpa news agency, citing information from unidentified participants, reported that a almost eight-hour meeting of the CSU in Munich was put on hold after Interior Minister Horst Seehofer made his offer.

If Seehofer does quit, the CSU could offer a replacement interior minister if it aims to remain tied to Merkel's CDU party.

Seehofer told party colleagues at an executive committee meeting that discussions with Merkel had been fruitless, according to a party source.

The unilateral move would force her to fire him, in turn prompting a CSU walkout that would cost her her majority in parliament.

Supporters of German AfD wave flags in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, May 27, 2018.

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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".

Member countries could also create processing centers to determine whether the new arrivals are returned home as economic migrants or admitted as refugees in willing states.

The CSU's Bavarian state premier Markus Soeder said "of course what has been achieved in Brussels is more than we originally thought" at a political meeting Saturday.

The Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary, whose Prime Minister Viktor Orban has long sought to position himself as Merkel's nemesis in the immigration debate polarising the continent, later said they had signed no bilateral agreements.

The "Free State" with its beer-and-lederhosen Alpine traditions, powerful industries and impenetrable dialect has a more conservative bent than other German regions.

But the CSU and CDU together form a center-right force that has dominated national politics for decades.

Nevertheless, the anti-refugee, anti-Islam AfD was propelled into federal parliament for the first time a year ago by outrage over immigration, leading to months of paralysis while Merkel struggled to find a workable coalition.

The AfD, holding its party congress in Bavaria, where it hopes to take votes from the CSU in October, sought to capitalise on the confusion.

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