Austria says to 'protect' its borders after German migrant deal

German coalition parties agree tougher migrant policy: SPD chief

German coalition parties agree tougher migrant policy: SPD chief

Germany's interior minister has offered to resign over Chancellor Angela Merkel's "ineffective" European Union deal to tackle migration, according to reports.

But CSU parliamentary group chief Alexander Dobrindt "does not want to accept Seehofer's resignation", participants in the hours-long huddle said.

The transit centre scheme was proposed in 2015 by a CSU politician, Stephan Mayer, but was rejected in the strongest terms by the Social Democratic party (SPD), then and now a junior partner in Merkel's grand coalition government.

Horst Seehofer has dropped his threat to quit over a dispute about managing immigration issues. Her unpopular policy was a large reason why her party, the Christian Democratic Union, crashed and burned in last September's elections. But a dearth of credible challengers to lead her Christian Democrats (CDU) and a general fear among many Germans of the far-right keep her hanging on, possibly even to the next election in 2021.

On Sunday evening, the CDU passed a resolution supporting Mrs Merkel's position on migration.

"The CSU's unsafe ego trip is paralyzing Germany and Europe", SPD chairwoman Andrea Nahles told journalists in Berlin.

He insulted Merkel in a newspaper interview saying, "I will not let myself be dismissed by a chancellor who is only chancellor because of me".

Under the deal brokered in Brussels, EU leaders agreed to consider setting up "disembarkation platforms" outside the bloc, most likely in North Africa, in a bid to discourage migrants and refugees boarding EU-bound boats.




While averting an immediate crisis, the plan also raised new questions - especially when it comes to Italy, the main arrival country for migrants crossing the Mediterranean.

The standoff came about over Seehofer's plan to turn back any asylum-seekers at Germany's borders who had registered in another European Union country.

The border deal, hailed by the German chancellor as a "good compromise", foresees setting up so-called transit centres on the southern border, where asylum seekers who have already been registered in other European Union countries will be held until they can be sent back to those countries.

Supporters of German AfD wave flags in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, May 27, 2018.

Speaking of the deal after terse negotiations on Monday, Mrs Merkel said: "We want on the one hand to set up transit centres in Germany and from there carry out returns in agreement with countries from which asylum seekers come and where they are already registered".

That left him with only three options. "And as a result we will see a crash - damaging both parties." .

The Social Democrats said Monday there was no guarantee they would back whatever compromise the CSU and CDU might find. Gains by the populist Alternative for Germany have returned the topic to the CSU's agenda ahead of the state election.

But the CSU and CDU together form a center-right force that has dominated national politics for decades.

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