Merkel faces conservative rebellion over German migration policy

Merkel faces conservative rebellion over German migration policy

In Germany, the issue of immigration is refusing to go away, fueled in recent weeks by allegations of mismanagement and corruption in the country's asylum authority as well as a string of high-profile crimes where the main suspects have been migrants.

Seehofer has demanded as part of a new "migration masterplan" that German border police be given the right to turn back all asylum-seekers without identity papers and those who are already registered elsewhere in the European Union.

Earlier this week, Seehofer called Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini to offer support and invite him for migration talks.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was fighting Tuesday to stamp out the first major row within her uneasy coalition, as disputes over her refugee policy returned to haunt her while she negotiates a broad European Union asylum deal.

"There are still good reasons to fight for the trans-Atlantic partnership", Merkel said Sunday, hedging that the European Union shouldn't "imprudently" follow the United States.

"What's important to me is that we make these decisions together in Europe, and not act unilaterally", she said at a Berlin press conference alongside Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, where she stressed the need to better secure the bloc's external borders.

Saxony's state premier, Michael Kretschmer, told Die Welt daily: "Of course, people who have no chance of getting asylum in Germany must be rejected at the border", adding that this includes people who had applied for asylum in other countries.

"Italy is going further than other states: migrants will not be accepted in the ports any more".

Merkel faces conservative rebellion over German migration policy
Merkel faces conservative rebellion over German migration policy

"The prime minister said nothing he hasn't said before-both in public, and in private conversations with the president", Trudeau's office announced in a statement, according to Reuters.

Seehofer, in sharp contrast to Merkel, has voiced open sympathies for right-wing populist governments that are tough on immigration, from Hungary to Austria and Italy.

The last parliamentary election in Germany took place in September 2017.

Merkel's insistence on an EU-wide agreement has the backing for now of the third party in her coalition, the Social Democratic Party.

Merkel's open-door policy for Germany has already been gradually scaled back and Christian Democrat General-Secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, widely seen as a possible successor to Merkel, said the party's leadership supported her position.

Since Kurz formed a coalition government with the far-right Freedom Party in December, the Austrian government has pursued anti-migrant, anti-Islam policy that includes plans to shut down seven mosques and expel dozens of imams.

For decades the CSU - the Bavarian sister party of the CDU - has been in alliance with Mrs Merkel's conservatives.

Migrant numbers have declined steeply in the past two years, but Germany is still registering about 11,000 new asylum-seekers per month.