German interior minister quits over migration conflict

Deal made for migrants in Europe

Dpa reported Sunday night that unidentified people present at a meeting of CSU leaders said Interior Minister Horst Seehofer was planning to announce his resignation. Seehofer said the matter was also affecting the "credibility" of his role as party leader and is planning to give a statement to CSU leaders, party sources said.

She says she achieved exactly what was needed in all-night talks with fellow European Union leaders last Friday and follow-up bilateral deals with 16 countries. Seehofer wants to unilaterally turn back refugees already registered in other European Union (EU) member states, while Merkel opposes it and has been calling for a European solution.

The CSU, which faces a regional election in Bavaria in October, has recently sharpened its criticism of Merkel's open-door policy for refugees, and argued that Germany should not wait for other European Union member states, and move forward with unilateral measures to stop irregular migration. If Mr Seehofer goes ahead with his policies, the dispute could end the decades-old conservative alliance between the CSU and Ms Merkel's CDU.

The leaderships of the CDU and CSU met separately in Berlin and Munich on Sunday to discuss whether and how the two parties, which have been allied since 1949, will continue to work together. The German leader would not comment on Sunday on the outcome of the talks.

While most analysts expect Merkel to survive the clash with the CSU, it is unlikely to be the last occasion on which the sister party seeks to distance itself from a chancellor it sees as too centrist for its own supporters. She also would not speculate on whether she might fire him or if the issue could lead to a government confidence vote in parliament.

The showdown over migration threatens the coalition between Angela Merkel's centre-right Christian Democratic Union party and its Bavarian partner party, the Christian Social Union.

Those would include deals for Spain and Greece to take back migrants registered in those countries who are caught by police trying to enter Germany.

The Social Democrats, who have largely been bystanders so far, demanded that their coalition partners get their act together, and called for a meeting later Monday with the conservative leaders.

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.

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.

In a televised interview on Sunday, Merkel said "The sum of everything we have decided has the same effect [as national measures]".

Weeks of "Merkel-bashing", however, have failed to help the CSU, as a Forsa poll last week showed around 68 percent of Bavarians backed Merkel's quest for a Europe-wide answer to migration rather than Germany going it alone.

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