Chaos in Merkel's coalition after Seehofer dangles resignation


The dispute that has raised questions over the future of Germany's 3½-month-old administration pits Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and his Bavaria-only Christian Social Union against Merkel, the head of its longtime sister party, the Christian Democratic Union.

Seehofer and Merkel have been at odds over Germany's approach to mass migration.

Patzelt also thinks there is a high probability that Seehofer, who has previously issued warnings to such effect, will use his power to make sure that asylum seekers are refused entry to Germany if they have already been registered in another European country.

Horst Seehofer insisted on his plan to turn away asylum seekers at the border with Austria registered in other European countries, as he rejected EU deals reached last week by Merkel as inadequate.

The leader of the third coalition partner, Andrea Nahles of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), is scheduled to join Mrs Merkel and Mr Seehofer for more crisis talks at 22:00 local time (20:00 GMT).

Merkel told reporters on Friday that the European Union and bilateral deals were "more than equivalent in their effect" to Seehofer's demands.

He told colleagues on Sunday he saw no alternative to turning migrants back at the border despite Merkel's efforts in Brussels last week and that discussions with the chancellor had been fruitless, according to a party source. The CDU's leaders, who are now gathered in Berlin for a second straight day of discussions, said they still see room for a compromise solution in the migration dispute.

Seehofer, 68, has been a headache for Merkel, especially over her open-door migrant policy, and the last three years have been punctuated by a series of showdowns between the two. Before that, a joint session of the CSU and CDU parliamentary groups is scheduled to take place, although there was some doubt whether it would go ahead.

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Her CDU lawmakers are still behind her while the CSU has baffled voters and commentators by backing themselves into a tight corner. The CSU is fighting state elections in Bavaria in October and, under pressure from the far-right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD), is seeking to burnish its own anti-refugee credentials in an attempt to win back voters.

She could call a confidence vote in the Bundestag, which could trigger fresh elections.

She said Greece and Spain had agreed to take back migrants stopped at the Bavarian-Austrian border who are proven to have entered their countries first - a move she hoped would allay Mr Seehofer's concerns.

The interior minister's "master plan", which triggered the present German government crisis just over two weeks ago, would see asylum-seekers who had already been registered elsewhere being shut out of Germany - a potential breach of European Union law and the Geneva Convention on refugees' rights.

Dealers said the clear win might settle one source of political uncertainty, but Obrador was also expected to sharpen Mexican divisions with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Merkel, now barely 100 days into her fourth term, faced a backlash from the conservative CSU after allowing more than one million asylum-seekers into Germany since 2015.

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.