Merkel's government frays as migrant row festers

Merkels government frays as migrant row festers

Berlin - A poll for broadcaster ARD found that 62 per cent of Germans believed refugees without papers should not be allowed in.



By Reuters

Published: Fri 15 Jun 2018, 11:24 PM

Last updated: Sat 16 Jun 2018, 1:30 AM

The conservative alliance headed by Angela Merkel may splinter in a row over immigration, an ally of the German chancellor said on Friday, as the third party in her fragile government suggested its patience was wearing thin.
The disagreement between Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) sister party threatens the future of her coalition three months after it took office, just as European divisions over migrants come to a head.
"I believe (Merkel) will try to the very end to find unity in the matter," said CDU home affairs spokesman Mathias Middelberg. Asked if the alliance with the CSU could shatter, he told Deutschlandfunk radio: "That can't be fully ruled out."
Bavaria was on the frontline of a migration crisis in 2015, when an 'open door' policy adopted by Merkel led to around a million refugees flooding into Germany.
Many conservatives held that policy responsible for a surge in support for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), the main opposition party since national elections in September.
CSU Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, whose party faces a regional election in October, now wants Germany to refuse entry to migrants who have already registered in countries further south, a plan that Merkel opposes.
Bavarian CSU premier Markus Soeder - widely considered to want to wrest the CSU party chairmanship from Seehofer - stood by that proposal on Friday. "We have to listen to the people," he told mass-circulation daily Bild.
A poll for broadcaster ARD found that 62 per cent of Germans believed refugees without papers should not be allowed in.
Veteran CSU politician Hans-Peter Friedrich was optimistic the dispute would be settled, telling broadcaster RTL there was agreement on 62 of the 63 points in Seehofer's plan, adding: "There's still a problem on one point but we'll manage it."
The conservatives' centre-left coalition ally, the SPD party, said the dispute - linked by many to the CSU's desire to improve its chances in Bavaria's polls and the battle for succession with the party - needed to be settled.


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