Merkel seeks way out of German crisis as minister dangles resignation

Merkel seeks way out of German crisis as minister dangles resignation

Seehofer wants to turn some asylum-seekers back at Germany's border, but Merkel is adamant that Germany shouldn't take unilateral action. She said 14 other nations had given verbal assent to work toward similar deals.

His offer to step down follows a marathon meeting with senior members of his party who tried to persuade him to stay on, according to Deutsche Welle.

European agreements "will take a very long time" to take effect and there are uncertainties over which countries will join, hard-line Bavarian governor Markus Soeder said.

Germany's interior minister has offered to resign over Angela Merkel's European Union deal to tackle immigration, reports say.

Bavaria's Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann, who has been tipped as a potential successor to Mr. Seehofer, said in a radio interview his party wanted an agreement with the CDU but gave no indication about what a compromise could look like.

Social Democrat leader Andrea Nahles also distributed the wrong points on Monday, accusing the conservative camp in general of "irresponsibility" and the CSU in particular of "delirium of ego".

The Social Democrats said Monday there was no guarantee they would back whatever compromise the CSU and CDU might find.

But after a night of high drama, Seehofer later said he would hold last-ditch talks with Merkel's CDU "in hopes of reaching an understanding". If Seehofer goes ahead with his policies, the dispute could end the decades-old conservative alliance between the CSU and Merkel's CDU.

Mr. Seehofer on Sunday rejected as insufficient an European Union plan to limit migrant flows backed by Ms. Merkel and her party.

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If talks fail and the two parties end their post-war partnership, Germany would be pitched into uncharted political waters.

Merkel reiterated her position that if countries start turning migrants away at national borders unilaterally, it would cause neighboring countries to close their borders and jeopardize the border-free movement within the EU.

But Seehofer seemed to resist pressure to climb down, suggesting that Merkel managed to remain in office after federal elections in September only thanks to his support.

Mr Seehofer made no comment to reporters as he arrived at Monday's meeting in Berlin, but in comments to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, he complained that he was in an "inconceivable" situation.

That was an apparent reference to his party's relatively strong election results in Bavaria.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government remains intact after she reached a deal Monday over the country's migration policy, ending a political standoff with her interior minister.

Merkel's centre-right CDU and their hardline Bavarian CSU allies gathered at separate meetings in Berlin and Munich on Sunday afternoon, with CSU leader and interior minister Horst Seehofer expected to announce either a compromise or open defiance. It came ahead of a hard Bavarian state election set for October that has the CSU determined to show that it is tough on migration.

Sunday July 1 was a self-imposed deadline for Seehofer to either accept Merkel's agreements with other European Union countries to reduce immigration or to defy her by starting to turn away at the border asylum seekers already registered elsewhere.

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