Merkel Finally Agrees to Tighten Up Immigration Policies - Cortney O'Brien

Merkel Finally Agrees to Tighten Up Immigration Policies - Cortney O'Brien

Merkel Finally Agrees to Tighten Up Immigration Policies - Cortney O'Brien

Mr. Seehofer, who's also leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), Chancellor Angela Merkel's Bavarian allies, said the heads of both parties will meet on Monday afternoon to thrash out a compromise.

Almost three years have passed since German Chancellor Angela Merkel first made the famous declaration that "Wir schaffen das", or "we can do this", in response to a massive influx of asylum seekers from Syria and other Asian and African countries who had become trapped in Hungary.

He said the two conservative parties in the governing coalition had agreed on how to prevent illegal migration across the border from Austria.

Seehofer, a long-time Merkel critic, had openly challenged her with a plan to order border police to unilaterally shutter German border crossings with Austria to many asylum seekers, effectively daring the chancellor to fire him.

The Austrian chancellor welcomed the "important turning point" reached by the EU, with the priority now on the need to tackle arrivals on European coasts.

Seehofer and Merkel are in a dispute over Germany's asylum policy. In controlling Germany's southern border to a greater degree than it has been recently, Germany will establish transit zones where migrants will be screened and those who have already applied to asylum elsewhere in Europe sent there - a move upholding the word of European law as laid out in the so-called Dublin regulations.

Officials from the Bavaria-based CSU accused Merkel of rejecting several compromise proposals made by Seehofer to heal the rift with her own CDU.

After a meeting with Seehofer on Saturday evening, Merkel told the German broadcaster ZDF on Sunday that the two people's meeting had "pretty good results", and she hoped to further work with her political ally CSU.

Her coalition partners have opted not to sink the government for now.

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The deal also requires support from the Social Democrats, the third party in Merkel's government.

A real possibility is a break up of the 70-year alliance between the CSU and Merkel's CDU.

But replacements for Horst Seehofer are only likely to be more hardline.

"We will not let our chancellor be shot away by the little sister party", one senior CDU lawmaker told Reuters.

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".

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.

It was the latest aftershock from Merkel's 2015 decision to open Germany's borders to more than a million refugees from war in the Middle East and Africa.

"It's not about who comes out on top, but about what's right", Bavarian state premier Markus Soeder told the CSU gathering, according to news agency DPA.

In such a circumstance, Merkel would no longer have a parliamentary majority, and consequently, there would be new elections, Patzelt explains.

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