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

The CDU and CSU have recently reached a political deadlock over the question of whether or not to turn back asylum seekers at the German border who were already registered in another Schengen area country.

The standoff pitted Merkel and her center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) against its more hard-line Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU).

A CSU leadership meeting Monday in Munich is likely to authorize Seehofer to go ahead with his plan - but it's unclear at what point.

Should Seehofer opt to institute border controls immediately, it would force Merkel to make a fateful choice: Acquiesce and emerge a dramatically weakened leader, or fire Seehofer and risk a break with the CSU that could bring her government crashing down.

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer gestures as he attends a news conference with Austria's chancellor Sebastian Kurz in Berlin, Germany, June 13, 2018. Merkel has asked the CSU to be patient, a request that the Bavarians have ignored.

They also agreed that European Union asylum applications should be processed in origin or transit countries before would-be migrants enter the bloc, she added.

Mr Schmieding said: "She will need a bit of a compromise here and there".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer's ultimatum on migrants but has two weeks to find a solution for influx of migrants ahead of the June 28-29 European Union talks.

Macron previous year outlined his vision for a stronger, more united Europe as a forceful reply to what was known as the National Front, a far-right party he defeated at the polls.

"It's in Germany's interest to achieve a controlled migration in good partnership with our European neighbors", she said. "But we stand by our position that, if this does not succeed, turning people back immediately at the border must be possible".

"The CDU stands behind the chancellor; the CDU stands behind a European approach", said Armin Laschet, prime minister of North Rhine-Westphalia and a deputy CDU chairman. The two conservative parties govern Germany in a coalition with the centre-left Social Democrats.

The spat over immigration has laid bare the deep tensions in a fractious German government that took office only in March, after almost six months of postelection haggling, and exposed the limits of Merkel's authority.

In 2015, Merkel famously said Germany was open to people fleeing wars and looking for better lives.

The EU border agency Frontex said more than 90 percent of those arriving in Italy, Greece and Spain register for asylum there.

A government-sponsored study published in January showed that violent crime had risen about 10 percent in 2015 and 2016, attributing more than 90 percent of the rise to young male asylum seekers. Under fire over the inhumane treatment of immigrant children at the United States border, Trump is telling his supporters that an overly harsh treatment of illegal immigrants is surely better than the chaos Angela Merkel's open-door policy has created.

  • Joey Payne