German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with her coalition government ally and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer on Monday evening in a final attempt to agree upon an immigration plan, effectively keeping the coalition in tact.
Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party and her Bavarian allies of the Christian Social Union (CSU) have been struggling to find a middle ground on immigration. Tensions boiled over on Sunday when Seehofer threaten to resign if Merkel didn’t budge. (RELATED: German Interior Minister Offers To Resign Amid Migration Conflict, Throwing Merkel’s Political Future Into More Uncertainty)
“I will not be dismissed by a chancellor who is only chancellor because of me,” Seehofer told Süddeutsche Zeitung daily before the Monday meeting.
Seehofer also told Merkel she had until July 1, a few days after the European Union (EU) summit, to bring home an agreeable immigration plan or he would start turning immigrants away at the border. Seehofer later accused Merkel of failing to push the CSU’s immigration agenda at summit.
Shortly after Monday’s meeting, Merkel said they had made a “really good compromise,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
The two leaders focused on finding a solution for “secondary movements,” which is when asylum seekers move from country to country in search of protection, in this case moving amongst countries in the EU.
Merkel and Seehofer agreed to set up transit centers at the German-Austrian border to curb secondary movements, in which asylum seekers apprehended at the border will be sent back to the country they’ve most recently been registered with.
“We have a clear agreement on how to prevent illegal migration in future on the border between Germany and Austria,” Seehofer said. “I am glad that this agreement has been reached.”
The two leaders also agreed upon a new border regime to “prevent asylum seekers whose asylum procedures are the responsibility of other EU countries from entering the country.”
Whether the Social Democrats (SDP), the remaining party in the coalition, will sign on to the deal is unclear.
Some SDP representatives have called on Seehofer to resign, however, and will most likely take Merkel’s side. (RELATED: Nigel Farage Declares Angela Merkel Is ‘Finished’ As The Leader Of Germany)
“Anyone who treats his responsibility for the country so cavalierly and egotistically can no longer responsibly perform his ministerial duties. Anyone who acts this way squanders every ounce of trust citizens have in our political system,” former Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel of SDP told Spiegel magazine. “That’s is why he has to go now.
Talks over the immigration debate have been going back and forth for months, and it is just as unclear if this plan will be the one that sticks.
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