German interior minister 'offers to resign' over migrants

Merkel holds a news conference following the European Union leaders summit in Brussels Belgium

Merkel's centre-right CDU party and its conservative Bavarian CSU allies are holding separate meetings to weigh the results of last week's European Union summit, which agreed collective measures by the bloc's 28 members to reduce immigration.

The plan foresees turning away asylum seekers at Germany's border if they entered the European Union from another member state and first registered there.

Her Christian Democrats (CDU) rely on the CSU to maintain power through a coalition formed three months ago to end a political vacuum.

Merkel fears Germany unilaterally setting up border checks could cause a domino effect across the European Union, undermining the Schengen free-movement zone and damaging the economy and political solidarity.

The conflict between Angela Merkel and her Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is so severe that either she loses face or they both lose their jobs and Germany is without a chancellor, political scientist Werner J. Patzelt told RT.

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

After a meeting with Seehofer on Saturday evening, Merkel told the German broadcaster ZDF on Sunday that the two people's meeting had "pretty good results", and she hoped to further work with her political ally CSU.

Germany's CDU chairwoman Annegret Kramp-Karrenbaur said Ms Merkels party now have a deal that will prevent migrants registered elsewhere from entering Germany.

He said that "there is an abundance of possibilities ... for compromises", but didn't specify what they were.




Mr Seehofer's CSU has baffled voters and commentators by backing themselves into a tight corner over the migration policy. That would likely end the seven-decade partnership of the CDU and CSU, which have a joint parliamentary group, and in turn would leave the government just short of a majority.

The CSU's hard line on migration comes amid a growth in support for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in Bavaria, where state elections will be held in October.

In currency markets, the euro was knocked back on reports German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer had rejected a migration deal Merkel negotiated at an European Union summit on Friday.

Sunday's long-planned TV interview with Merkel could barely have been scheduled at a more inconvenient moment for the chancellor, as at the same time the CDU was preparing to meet for vital talks across town in Berlin. She also would not speculate on whether she might fire him or if the issue could lead to a government confidence vote in parliament.

Merkel also secured agreement from Greece and Spain to take back from Germany migrants who previously registered in those countries.

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.

The two center-right parties have been in an alliance for 70 years under which the CDU left the CSU to fly the conservative flag in Bavaria.

Its success was based on strident anti-immigration rhetoric, attacking Mrs Merkel's decision to let in more than a million asylum seekers in 2015-2016.

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