Merkel gets extra time to reach deal with European Union over asylum row

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is the man of the moment | Sean Gallup  Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who Trump met with last week at the G7 summit, has faced political headwinds in the country since she implemented an open-door policy in 2015 in an effort to lead the way in response to the refugee crisis.

But the chancellor's pledge has been met with skepticism by some CSU politicians, who question the possibility of reaching an EU-wide agreement after several years of failed attempts.

But Merkel says that would leave countries at the EU's southern periphery alone to deal with the migrant influx.

Mrs Merkel is at loggerheads with her conservative Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union (CSU), who share power with her Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Social Democrats in a loveless coalition. Still, polls suggest that its absolute majority in the Bavarian state legislature is in danger in the October 14 state election and it is being challenged on the right by the far-right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party.

Seehofer wants Germany to have the right to reject migrants who have already registered in another European Union state but Merkel opposes any unilateral move by him that would reverse her 2015 open-door policy and undermine her authority.

Seehofer heads the Bavaria-only Christian Social Union, the sister party to Merkel's Christian Democratic Union. Migration is "a European challenge that requires a European answer", Merkel said in her weekly podcast released Saturday.

Should Seehofer opt to institute border controls immediately, it would force Merkel to make a fateful choice: Acquiesce and emerge a dramatically weakened leader, or fire Seehofer and risk a break with the CSU that could bring her government crashing down.

"I believe it is worthwhile to keep CSU and CDU together".

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'We want a solution for sending back refugees at our borders, ' he said.

Merkel is seeking an agreement at the European Union summit at the end of June which would make a ban on pre-registered migrants unnecessary.

BAVARIAN BEEF Merkel has had an often-tense history with Seehofer, and their relationship became really hard after Merkel's 2015 decision to keep Germany's borders open as migrants streamed across the Balkans.

Alternatively, if the CSU splits from the CDU and becomes an opposition party, the governing coalition would be left with 353 seats, one short of a majority, potentially triggering the collapse of the government.

The German government said no special EU summit is planned, and that would be a matter for EU leaders in Brussels, but "of course the German government is holding talks with various member states and the (EU) Commission" about immigration in Europe. The new populist government in Italy has barred rescue ships from making landfall in the country's ports, forcing them to dock elsewhere.

Seehofer and Merkel have long had an awkward relationship.

Most first arrived in Bavaria, which borders Austria. However, Merkel has been unyielding in defending her initial decision to keep Germany's borders open, telling lawmakers earlier this month that "in an exceptional humanitarian situation, Germany behaved very responsibly".

Most Germans support the moves according to opinion polls, while critics say Merkel's liberal migrant policies have bolstered far-right and populist parties at home and overseas.

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