Angela Merkel deflects coalition crisis with compromise

Leroy Wright
July 4, 2018

As he entered a CDU crisis meeting yesterday, deputy leader Armin Laschet said the sister parties "want to hold onto" their alliance.

Refugee support group Pro Asyl slammed what it labeled "detention centers in no-man's land" and charged that German power politics were being played out "on the backs of those in need of protection".

The deal, which brought Merkel's government to the brink of collapse just three months after it was formed, keeps her in office. A Forsa poll on Monday showed 67 percent of Germans viewed Seehofer's position as irresponsible. Whether the two conservative parties would be able to get Mrs Merkel's junior coalition partner, the centre-left Social Democratic Party, to agree was also an open question.

But analysts say it isn't clear as yet whether the deal will work on a practical level or that it will help to advance a more collective sand unified European Union approach.

"Under her continued leadership, Germany will be largely immobilized at home and in Europe", Mr. Kleine-Brockhoff added, a dramatic change for a country that has been Europe's political and economic anchor.

Juncker was upbeat. "I have not studied it in detail but at first glance - and I have asked the legal services to look at it - it seems to me to be in line with the law", he told a news conference in Strasbourg.

"After intensive discussions between the CDU and CSU we have reached an agreement on how we can in future prevent illegal immigration on the border between Germany and Austria", he told reporters on leaving the CDU's Berlin headquarters. It fears that tighter border controls by its northern neighbour could raise the number of migrants on its own soil.

Merkel said the pair had "reached a good compromise" after days of hard negotiations. She said a decision last week by leaders of European Union countries to strengthen the 28-nation bloc's exterior borders, and her proposal for "anchor centres" to process migrants to Germany would improve the situation.

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Merkel's new policy on immigration is a compromise that allowed her to defuse a confrontation with CSU head Horst Seehofer.

In particular, she still has to work with CSU leader and German Interior Minister Seehofer, with whom she has had several showdowns on different aspects of migrant policy.

Last weekend's marathon Brussels talks in search of a "European solution" and the meetings between Merkel and Seehofer that followed have cast considerable doubt over that trifecta.

The Austrian chancellery confirmed that Seehofer would meet Kurz and his far-right counterpart Herbert Kickl on Thursday.

"Austria should not have to take on the legacy of a failed welcoming culture that is in Europe linked to some names", charged far-right Interior Minister Herbert Kickl, in an attack against Merkel.

"I would like very much for the CDU and CSU to continue working together", Merkel said, admitting she had made concessions to Seehofer's demands, public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.

Merkel's asylum pact with her hardline Bavarian CSU allies would set up a "new border regime" on the frontier with Austria. EURACTIV Germany reports from Vienna.

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte took aim at Merkel for seeking to tackle movements of migrants within the bloc, rather than stopping them from entering the European Union in the first place. It would establish camps, called "transit centers", at points along the border.

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