Ahead of Macron meeting, Merkel insists migration needs 'European answer'

Blanche Robertson
June 18, 2018

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she will turn to France to help diffuse a domestic crisis over migration amid an increasing risk that the European Union may unravel unless its member states adopt a common policy. Also, Seehofer supports blocking asylum-seekers whose applications were previously rejected by Germany.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel could lose her powerful seat in the heart of Europe as soon as next week amid clashes within her coalition Government over European Union migration policies, claimed German MP Kai Whittaker.

Amid widespread calls for Merkel to sack Seehofer anyway, particularly if she wanted to retain her credibility, Jan Korte of the far-left Die Linke party said: "This Rambo in lederhosen needs to be stopped".

Merkel's welcome to refugees also infuriated Seehofer and his CSU, the sister party of her Christian Democrats in the southern state of Bavaria, which became the main entry point for most migrants.

Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, right, speaks with Emmanuel Macron, France's president.

Paris and Berlin are very close to an agreement on eurozone reform after months of divisions, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has said.

Bavarian governor Markus Soeder and the party's top federal lawmaker, Alexander Dobrindt, have been even more vehement than Seehofer in demanding immediate action on migration.

Bild said it was unclear whether Spain and other countries from the Balkans would take part in Merkel's meeting.

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As the domestic storm unfolded this week, Merkel remained insistent that the EU-28 can only solve migration challenges as a group.

Germany is now admitting around 11,000 asylum seekers every month, according to The Times. Merkel has asked the CSU to be patient, a request that the Bavarians have ignored.

Mr Macron is hoping that the German leader will agree on increased funding for the EU's Frontex border force and asylum rules. The issue has come to a head in the last week with a new Italian government refusing to let a ship carrying hundreds of migrants dock at its ports.

From January to May, about 78,000 people sought asylum in Germany compared with 90,000 a year ago, the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper said Saturday, citing Interior Ministry data.

The survey turns up the pressure on Merkel, who has faced a backlash for allowing into Germany more than one million people fleeing war and misery in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere since 2015.

Seehofer wants Germany to have the right to reject migrants who have already registered in another European Union state but Merkel opposes any unilateral move by him that would reverse her 2015 open-door policy and undermine her authority. Recent polls at least show a slim majority of Germans back Seehofer even though the method may foment problems with Mediterranean partners like Italy.

The survey found that 62 percent of respondents were in favor of turning back undocumented migrants at the border, in line with the stance of Seehofer who is openly challenging Merkel. Civey polled 5,051 Germans of voting age on June 14-15.

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