German interior minister 'offers to resign' over migrants

German coalition teeters as minister offers to resign over migrants

Her own interior minister, Horst Seehofer, has threatened to resign.

Kurz's comments come amid several immigration rows across Europe; within the German government, between Germany and Italy and between Bavaria and Austria.

Merkel rejects any unilateral moves, which she says would undermine the EU's Schengen open border system.

To politically survive, Merkel could attempt a minority government, seek a new coalition partner in the ecologist Greens or pro-business Free Democrats, or orchestrate a no-confidence vote in parliament that could trigger new elections.

German Chancellor and chairwoman of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Angela Merkel, announces new deal with Interior Minister and chairman of the German Christian Social Union (CDU), Horst Seehofer, in Berlin on Monday.

While Seehofer's comparatively strong stance has caused this clash with Merkel, the Bavarian leader remains a centre-right figure fundamentally unopposed to mass migration, and the new compromise will do nothing to undo the effects of decades of mass migration to Germany - most dramatically those million-plus arrivals who walked through Europe during the migrant crisis.

The leadership of Merkel's party approved a resolution Sunday stating that "turning people back unilaterally would be the wrong signal to our European partners".

Alexander Dobrindt, leader of the CSU parliamentary group, said "a common destiny proves its worth only when it is challenged".

Merkel, who has been in office since 2005, warned last week the issue of migration could decide the very future of the European Union itself.

Opinion polls suggest that, in the event of a fresh election, the SPD would not profit from the CDU-CSU rift over migration. The party leader, Andrea Nahles, said on Tuesday morning that she opposed the term "transit centres".




After half a year of coalition building, Seehofer, having been ousted by ambitious rival Markus Soeder as Bavarian state premier, returned to Berlin, where he previously held ministerial posts, to rejoin Merkel's cabinet.

After facing push-back over her long-held open-door policies that have allowed hundreds of thousands of immigrants into her country, German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave in on Monday.

Senior CSU figures, including Mr Dobrindt, immediately tried to persuade Mr Seehofer not to quit.

Political stability was upset by Merkel's 2015 decision to keep borders open to migrants and refugees arriving from the Middle East via the Balkans, Hungary and Austria.

But it was Seehofer's latest project that shattered relations with Merkel, a 63-point "migration master plan" that is yet to be released to the public.

Merkel rejected such unilateral German measures and pledged to reach bilateral deals instead with other European Union states.

The two conservative parties agreed to build transit centers on the German side of the border with Austria.

"The blame game between CDU and CSU must end, because it is irresponsible", she said.

"The spirit of partnership in the European Union is preserved and at the same time an important step to order [has been taken]", Ms Merkel said.

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