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Merkel turns the screw on Bavarian rebels over migration

03 July 2018

However, the more conservative CSU - which has sparred with Merkel over migrant policy on and off since 2015 - believes its credibility is at stake as it tries to curb support for the anti-migration Alternative for Germany party in the upcoming Bavaria election.

The three-week stand-off has raised questions of whether Mrs Merkel's government will survive.

Merkel has so far opposed Seehofer's "migration master plan" and argued that unilateral moves would have "a domino effect", prompting other European Union member states to push back refugees and further increase the burden of member states like Italy and Greece.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was fighting for her political future Sunday, looking to placate conservative rebels over immigration with a hard-fought European deal even as eastern EU states called it into doubt.

The Associated Press writes, "If Seehofer does step down, it is not immediately clear what effect the move would have on a three-week impasse between Merkel and her CSU partners, which has centered on his resolve to turn away some types of asylum-seekers at Germany's borders".

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

"The sum of all we've agreed is equivalent to what the CSU wants - that's my personal view, but the CSU must decide for themselves", she said. 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".

Merkel had set off for a European Union migrant summit in Brussels last week to fight for a deal that would appease her hardline allies, preserve her already unstable governing coalition and defend an embattled European Union.

One possibility is for the 70-year-old CDU and CSU alliance to split which would rob Merkel of her parliamentary majority.

Senior CSU lawmaker and former interior minister Hans-Peter Friedrich wrote on his Twitter account that the CDU and CSU wouldn't let themselves be divided.

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If there's no deal, Germany's interior minister will quit and the chancellor's coalition could unravel.

Should the government break down completely, it could pave the way for new elections, an option that Merkel has previously said she prefers to ruling in a minority government.

Europe started with a thud too, with the pan-European STOXX 600 index dropping 1 percent .STOXX and the euro down 0.5 percent against the dollar at $1.1630 EUR=EBS as the stability of Germany's coalition government remained in focus. She said Greece and Spain had agreed to take back migrants stopped at the Bavarian-Austrian border who were shown to have entered their countries first, a commitment she hoped would assuage Mr. Seehofer's concerns.

They and right-leaning members of the CDU fear the chancellor has led them too far into the centre, leaving space for the emergence of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which has eaten into the conservative camp's vote.

Bavaria's CSU Prime Minister Markus Söder said "we're ready for compromises" and "for us now there is no exit from the government".

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Ahead of a hard Bavarian state election in October, the CSU is determined to show it is tough on migration.

Merkel turns the screw on Bavarian rebels over migration