Seehofer’s last-ditch attempt to agree on migration issue

German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a last-ditch effort to resolve a row over migrant policy with her conservative allies on Monday after a top Minister threatened to resign, casting doubt on whether her coalition can survive.

Meanwhile sources inside Merkel's CDU camp told DPA that party leaders were united behind the chancellor.

But instead he and Ms Merkel have agreed on setting up detention centres on Germany's border with Austria that will process immigrants and return them if necessary.

Mr. Seehofer also praised the new policy proposal, saying, "We have a clear agreement on how to prevent illegal migration in the future on the border between Germany and Austria".

Merkel and the Christian Democrats adamantly opposed that approach, arguing it was imperative to involve other European Union nations in devising an effective new migration policy.

The border deal, hailed by the German chancellor as a "good compromise", foresees setting up so-called transit centres on the southern border, where asylum seekers who have already been registered in other European Union countries will be held until they can be sent back to those countries.

A almost eight-hour meeting of the CSU in Munich was put on hold after the party's leader, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, made his offer to resign both from Merkel's Cabinet and as head of the CSU.

Alexander Dobrindt, leader of the CSU parliamentary group, said "a common destiny proves its worth only when it is challenged".

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He also believes that these elections "would revolve on the immigration issue" with no chance of victory for the Christian Democratic Union.

A Forsa poll published Monday showed some 77% of respondents said the conflict over immigration was putting the stability of the government at risk and two thirds said the CSU's behavior wasn't responsible.

"So I think action in Germany to strengthen European interests is absolutely necessary", he said. Then early on Monday Mr Seehofer announced he had agreed to hold final talks with the CDU as a "concession".

What did Mrs Merkel negotiate with the EU?

But even with a last-minute agreement between the two sibling parties would leave Merkel with some political firefighting to do in order to fully defuse the government crisis.

"The CSU's immigration policy and its treatment to its sister party are only supported by a minority", Forsa head Manfred Güllner told the RTL/n-tv broadcaster, which commissioned the survey.

Merkel reiterated her position that if countries start turning migrants away at national borders unilaterally, it would cause neighboring countries to close their borders and jeopardize the border-free movement within the EU.

However, Italy - where most irregular migrants arrive - does not want to take back migrants who reach Germany.

The divisions within the German government over the issue are also being played out in other European Union countries, and three countries later said they were not part of the German deal: the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

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