German interior minister threatens to quit over asylum policy

Merkel rebels vow last-ditch bid for migrant deal

Merkel's Christian Democratic Union and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer's Christian Social Union have had a close partnership for seven decades.

Seehofer and Merkel have been at odds over Germany's approach to mass migration.

Nine months after elections that saw her lose votes to the far right, a weakened Merkel was forced to turn to European Union neighbours to help resolve a conflict with her allies which could bring down her three-month-old coalition.

Mr Seehofer complained that he had held a "conversation with no effect" with Mrs Merkel on Saturday.

The BBC's Jenny Hill in Berlin says Mr Seehofer might have overplayed his hand by issuing his ultimatum, only for Mrs Merkel to return from Brussels on Friday with an EU-wide strategy and bilateral agreements with more than 10 countries.

"The sum total of everything we have agreed upon has the same effect" as what Seehofer has demanded, Merkel said in an interview with ZDF television.

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Both the CDU and the CSU are holding separate meetings Sunday to discuss Merkel's latest efforts on migration and plot their next steps.

Meanwhile, the general secretary of the CDU party Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said in Berlin the chancellor's camp was "united" behind "effective, humane solutions together with our European partners" after its own leadership gathering.

She said the decision by leaders of European Union countries on Friday to strengthen the 28-nation bloc's exterior borders and her proposal for "anchor centres" to process migrants at Germany's borders would work better.

But he also struck a conciliatory tone, saying "there is an abundance of possibilities. for compromises", without specifying what they were.

By letting the CSU tear itself apart over its future in the coalition, Merkel may yet rid herself of a formidable foe in Seehofer - as she has with a string of other top conservatives in her 12-1/2 years in office. The CDU's 200 lawmakers and CSU's 46 lawmakers have a joint parliamentary group.

Should the government break down completely, it could pave the way for new elections, an option that Merkel has previously said she prefers to ruling in a minority government.

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The source of the impasse is a migration plan hatched by Seehofer to take unilateral action to turn back migrants who have been registered first in another European Union country.

In the meantime, Bavaria state premier Markus Soeder said that Bavaria does not want to risk the stability of the German government, adding he hoped for a compromise with Merkel in the migrant policy row.

However, the more conservative CSU believes its credibility is at stake as it tries to curb support for the anti-migration Alternative for Germany party in the upcoming Bavarian election.

The political crisis is one more sign of a growing rift in Europe between those who want to work together to reduce the number of migrants and refugees entering the bloc, and those who have grown exhausted of failed attempts to reach bloc-wide agreements and are taking unilateral action.

Merkel, now barely 100 days into her fourth term, faced a backlash from the conservative CSU after allowing more than one million asylum-seekers into Germany since 2015.

Dealers said the clear win might settle one source of political uncertainty, but Obrador was also expected to sharpen Mexican divisions with U.S. President Donald Trump.

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