Report: Merkel secures deal
BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel has reportedly secured agreements with 14 European Union countries to rapidly return some asylum seekers as she seeks to end a schism in her government over migration policy.
Merkel also said she also wants to establish “anchor centers” to process migrants at Germany’s borders, the dpa news agency reported Saturday.
The announcements came in a letter Merkel wrote to leaders of her Christian Democratic Union’s Bavaria-only sister party, the Christian Social Union, as well as to her junior coalition government partner, the Social Democrats, after she attended a two-day EU summit in Brussels.
Merkel is seeking to end a three-week standoff with her hard-line Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who heads the CSU.
Seehofer, whose party faces a state election in the fall, has been threatening to turn away migrants at Germany’s border who have already been rejected by the country or who have registered for asylum elsewhere in the EU.
Merkel has rejected that approach, instead insisting on a European-wide solution to migration issues to preserve EU unity. The dispute has raised the possibility of an end to Germany’s decades-old conservative alliance between the CSU and Merkel’s CDU if Seehofer goes ahead with the unilateral move, which could bring down her government.
The CDU and the CSU are holding separate meetings today to discuss Merkel’s latest efforts on migration and plot their next steps.