German minister hints at compromise

A reversal of her 2015 open-door migrant policy would be a huge blow to Merkel's authority

A reversal of her 2015 open-door migrant policy would be a huge blow to Merkel's authority

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seeking talks with some European Union member states on migrant policy before a leaders summit at the end of the month, a government spokesman said, in a last-ditch bid to avert a coalition crisis erupting this week.

The decision sparked some opposition, most recently in the form of Interior Minister Horst Seehofer's open challenge to the policy, and a public poll showing 62 percent of Germans want to turn away asylum-seekers at the border.

A dispute in Merkel's coalition over migration policy has escalated into one of the biggest tests of her chancellorship, while the populist government that took over in Italy this month has blocked refugee vessels from entering Italian ports.

Paris and Berlin are racing to bridge the gap between Macron's vision of grand European Union reforms and Chancellor Angela Merkel's more prudent approach by a crunch eurozone summit on June 29. Seehofer has been a long-standing critic of the so-called "open-door policy".

"It's in Germany's interest to achieve a controlled migration in good partnership with our European neighbors", she said.

But Merkel is firmly opposed, warning that it would leave countries at the EU's geographic southern periphery alone to deal with the migrant influx.

"We are opening a new chapter", she said.

Speaking to dpa on Tuesday, Bavarian governor Markus Soeder (CSU) expressed skepticism that Merkel would succeed in meeting the tight deadline set by the CSU. If she fails, the CSU vows to break its decades-old alliance with the chancellor's Christian Democrats, which would likely lead to new elections.

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NELSON: The interior minister and his party, which is facing a major challenge from far-right populists in upcoming regional elections, say they will unilaterally prevent migrants from crossing Bavaria's global borders if Berlin doesn't act.

According to the newspaper, Seehofer intends to give Merkel two weeks on the solution of common European problem of the issue of refugees.

The item will be part of the agenda of a European summit on June 28.

Her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its sister party CSU have suffered heavy losses in the country's federal elections a year ago, while the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) scored record gains and entered the parliament for the first time.

"She will need the reassurance for example that, if later on or even now there is an European Union solution, border control can be relaxed again in the future".

Merkel and Macron jointly stressed the need for an EU-wide solution to the migration crisis that is now casting a shadow over cooperation between European neighbors, according to German news agency dpa.

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.

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