Germany's migrants: Seehofer 'offers to resign' over migrants

Germany's migrants: Seehofer 'offers to resign' over migrants

News agency Dpa said that Horst Seehofer, the leader of the Bavarian-only Christian Social Union which is in coalition with Mrs Merkel, was planning to announce his resignation.

"That is a decision that I cannot accept", Alexander Dobrindt said, according to sources from Sunday's high-level party meeting.

After the Bavarians' relentless pressure on Merkel, European leaders on Friday agreed new measures to reduce immigration and so-called "secondary migration" of asylum-seekers between countries.

However, the claim included in the document that Germany has secured deals with 14 European Union member states to take back asylum-seekers already registered in those countries was quickly thrown into doubt.

Merkel's party is aiming to reach a deal which would satisfy voters in the upcoming Bavarian state election in October, in an attempt to prevent the right-wing and anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party from making gains.

He could defy her orders by ordering border police to carry out his plan, which would force her to fire him and nearly certainly break up the CDU-CSU alliance, or he could accept a humiliating climbdown or resign.

But he and Merkel were spotted Saturday discussing the outcome with tense faces on the balcony of her Berlin office.

Europe's leaders emerged from talks with a bloc-wide agreement that it was best to deal with the issue collectively rather than unilaterally.

Crucially for Merkel, CDU lawmakers are backing her - so far.

The CSU exists only in Bavaria, the CDU in Germany's 15 other states.

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Seehofer heads the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian-only sister party to Merkel's Christian Democratic Union in Germany's conservative government.

After an "ineffective" two-hour meeting on Saturday night between Mrs Merkel and Mr Seehofer, the two leaders met with their respective parties for separate meetings in Munich and Berlin on Sunday night. That means 355 are required for a majority, which is needed in a confidence vote or to elect a new chancellor, and Merkel's coalition has 399.

Merkel also secured agreement from Greece and Spain to take back from Germany migrants who previously registered in those countries. Party leader Andrea Nahles said that "the CSU is on a unsafe ego trip that is paralyzing Germany and Europe".

The CDU has 200 seats and the CSU 46.

Merkel's decision in 2015 to open doors for refugees fleeing conflicts and persecution was widely criticized by conservative media outlets, and was exploited by the far-right and populist parties.

Seehofer has been pushing for Chancellor Angela Merkel to agree to a tougher immigration policy.

Nevertheless, the anti-refugee, anti-Islam Alternative for Germany (AfD) surged into federal parliament for the first time a year ago, leading to months of paralysis while Merkel struggled to put together a workable coalition.

"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, as quoted by Reuters.

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

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