Merkel’s Immigrant Woes Not Finished Yet, Hanging On Approval From Social Democrats, EU

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel finally struck a deal with her coalition government ally and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer on Monday evening, but her Social Democrat (SPD) junior coalition partners are hesitant to sign on.

Merkel needs approval from all of her coalition partners as well as the European Union (EU) if her hard-fought plan is to come to fruition.

Leaders of the three parties failed to reach an agreement in their 2 1/2-hour meeting on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

“We were able to make progress, but we have not found common ground yet,” said Andrea Nahles, leader of the SDP.

Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union party (CDU) have been struggling for months to find peace between all figures involved, receiving mounting pressure from Seehofer and his Christian Social Union (CSU), which advocates for strict border control, and her SDP allies, who fear for the immigrants’ rights.

Seehofer threatened to resign on Sunday over his dissatisfaction with Merkel’s immigration plans, a move that would threaten the political balance and future of Merkel’s coalition government. (RELATED: German Interior Minister Offers To Resign Amid Migration Conflict, Throwing Merkel’s Political Future Into More Uncertainty)

Merkel and Seehofer agreed on Monday to set up transit centers at the German-Austrian border to curb “secondary movements,” in which asylum seekers apprehended at the border would be sent back to the country they’ve most recently been registered with.

These immigrants travel from country to country seeking protection, confusing the responsibilities of the host countries.

While Seehofer said they found a “clear agreement on how to prevent illegal migration in the future on the border between Germany and Austria,” a Forsa poll found on Tuesday that most Germans are unhappy with the deal.

The majority of Germans — 69 percent — feel Seehofer should have followed through on his threat to resign, and 54 percent would have rather seen the CDU and the CSU split. Only 38 percent are happy with the deal.

The Austrian government seemed to be on board with the transit centers if they were to be approved by all German parties. (RELATED: Merkel Makes Last Ditch Immigration Agreement, Coalition Government Survives For Now)

“We are now waiting for a rapid clarification of the German position at a federal level,” Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said in a joint statement with two cabinet members.

Austria is “ready to take measures to protect our southern borders,” particularly those with Italy and Slovenia, they continued.

Despite Merkel, Austria and the CDU being on board, the SDP is pushing back by saying it would prefer more conversations and clarifications on the matter before it can move forward.

“Our resolution stands: we don’t want closed camps,” Lars Klinbeil, secretary general of the SDP, told Rheinische Post newspaper, essentially squashing all hope for the plan.

The SDP argued that such transit centers would not in fact stop migrants from coming to the border, nor those seeking asylum from Libya, Afghanistan and other struggling countries.

Nahles said many questions remain on the issue of controlling immigration, and it is unclear for now how soon an agreement can be reached.

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