Doubts raised over Merkel compromise on border controls

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has secured an immigration deal with 14 EU countries

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has secured an immigration deal with 14 EU countries

Merkel had set off for a European Union migrant summit in Brussels last week to fight for a deal that would appease her hardline allies, preserve her already unstable governing coalition and defend an embattled European Union. The leadership of Merkel's party on Sunday night approved a resolution stating that "turning people back unilaterally would be the wrong signal to our European partners".

"It was a mistake that will follow us for a long time", he said at the time. That would likely end the seven-decade partnership of the CDU and CSU, which have a joint parliamentary group, in turn leaving the government just short of a majority.

Merkel and Seehofer, who heads Bavaria's ruling Christian Social Union (CSU), pulled back from the brink as they risked a coalition split that could have unraveled Merkel's chancellorship after nearly 13 years.

Seehofer is a member of the Christian Social Union, an ally of Merkel's party.

Merkel has insisted on Europe-wide solutions to handling the waves of foreigners trying to reach the continent and the standoff could spell the end of her fourth government.

"Seehofer is promising his voters in Bavaria that the same Dublin system [for asylum applications] that hasn't worked for 20 years is suddenly going to run smoothly because of new transit centres in Bavaria", Knaus told the Guardian.

Sources said Seehofer rejected Merkel's assessment that the EU-wide measures would "have the same effect" as his demand to turn away at the border asylum-seekers already registered in other European Union nations. Its leader, Andrea Nahles, said the party will closely examine the agreement.

The most important factor for her survival is probably how long her own CDU lawmakers stand by her, and for now they are.


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

"I am glad that this agreement has succeeded", he told reporters.

"So I think action in Germany to strengthen European interests is absolutely necessary", he said.

At a CSU congress in November that year, Seehofer berated Merkel for a full 15 minutes on stage, his 1.93 metres frame towering over the ill-at-ease chancellor.

Some Social Democrats accuse the CSU of wanting to appear tough on immigration before a regional election in Bavaria in October where the conservatives are expected to lose voters to the anti-immigrant party Alternative for Germany.

Mr. Seehofer, after talks with Ms. Merkel on Saturday evening, complained the conversation was "ineffective" as the chancellor refused to budge her position on the European Union deal.

Knaus, director of the thinktank ESM, said the deal struck by the German government could have the unintended effect of increasing migration into Germany, if for example the Greek government used the new agreement to unite families with people who had already arrived in Germany, while in return taking back some asylum seekers who have been finger-printed in Greece.

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