Merkel seeks Macron's Help as Asylum Crisis Threatens EU Unity

Merkel seeks Macron's Help as Asylum Crisis Threatens EU Unity

Germany's interior minister, Horst Seehofer, has signalled he is open to giving Angela Merkel more time to reach a deal with Germany's European Union partners over an asylum row that has threatened to bring down her government. Merkel opposes unilateral action, arguing that it would increase pressure on countries such as Italy and Greece and weaken the 28-nation European Union.

Without the CSU, Merkel's coalition, which also includes the Social Democrats, would lose its parliamentary majority. Still, polls suggest that its absolute majority in the Bavarian state legislature is in danger in the October 14 state election - and it is being challenged on the right by the far-right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party.

However, her political capital is being eroded by a row with her Bavarian allies, who have given the chancellor two weeks to find a European solution to their immigration dispute.

"Turning away migrants at our borders at the heart of Europe will lead to negative domino effects that could hurt Germany, and put into question European unity", she warned.

There is, she insisted, "nothing automatic" about what happens next.

"We share goal of better ordering migration and reducing number of refugees", Merkel said at a press conference in Berlin, referring to aspirations of CSU.

Merkel wants Germany to abide by European rules concerning immigrants while her government colleagues are demanding that Germany close the borders to New immigrants which some say would cause chaos on the European continent as also spell disaster for the Euro.

Stressing that Germany must change direction on immigration, Seehofer said: "I can not say that we have a grip on the issue".

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"But we stick to our position that should the immediate rejection at the border not be possible, I would immediately order the police that people who either have prohibition of entry or prohibition of stay should be immediately turned away at the border", he said.

Seehofer said he had told fellow leaders that "we're not out of the woods yet".

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.

However it ends, the spat has laid bare the limits of Merkel's authority in a fractious government that took office in March after almost six months of postelection haggling.

Some 49% of voters surveyed last week by pollsters Civey for Die Welt newspaper said they either "definitely" or "sooner" place trust in Seehofer to solve the perceived asylum crisis compared with 32% who said Merkel has the right approach. More than 1 million migrants came to Germany in 2015 and 2016, though numbers have since dropped sharply.

Macron also said Paris and Berlin wanted agreements that would allow European Union member states to reject at their borders asylum seekers already registered elsewhere in the bloc - usually the first port of entry.

The latest state crime statistics show violent crime in Lower Saxony fell in 2017, to 18,454 cases - significantly less than a decade earlier, when the figure stood at 22,360 cases.

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