Merkel struggles to avert German coalition crisis on migrants

Summit Has Gone Full Meme

Several outlets, including German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle and Politico, translated parts of Merkel's remarks, which she made in a Sunday interview with German broadcaster ARD.

"It is important that the governments and not the smugglers decide who comes to Europe, ' he said".

"Asylum tourism must end. Germany can not wait endlessly for Europe, but must act independently", tweeted Bavaria's hardline premier Markus Soeder. "That's why we have police at the border and it is right to have them there".

"It is serious, very serious", said CSU parliamentary group leader Alexander Dobrindt.

At the meeting, CSU lawmakers said they could not wait that long.

Merkel argues that Germany must not take the sudden and unilateral step of rejecting most asylum seekers at the border, which would heighten the burden for frontline countries like Italy, Greece and Spain.

"She was looking at me, you know what we were doing?"

The June summit is unlikely to see a breakthrough on European Union asylum reform, however, with the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia opposed to migrant-sharing. Then Merkel agreed to keep Germany's borders open, allowing nearly a million refugees to enter Germany amid dispute and disarray across Europe as many governments refused to cooperate.

"Merkel all alone!" wrote Bild daily on Thursday, reporting that support for her argument on this issue had all but evaporated within her conservative bloc.

"I am happy about the cooperation that we want to develop between Rome, Vienna and Berlin".

She could call a vote of confidence in herself in the Bundestag, risking a defeat and subsequent resignation, or she could sack Seehofer, destroying the CDU/CSU alliance and her parliamentary majority.

The arrival of more than a million asylum seekers since 2015, many fleeing war-torn Syria and Iraq, has deeply divided Germany and fuelled the rise of the far-right AfD in last year's general election at the expense of mainstream parties.

"It must now be decided and quickly", said Soeder.

It is also playing out among an escalating clash on asylum seekers between France and Italy's new government. "Staging such a drama to serve regional elections are not appropriate", said SPD leader Andrea Nahles.

The opposition Greens party voiced "deep concern about a real government crisis" which put Germany "at a crossroads, to choose humanity, solidarity and the rule of law, or say goodbye to all these values". That risks further intensifying internal divisions within the European Union as Italy turns away migrant boats that arrive at its shores.

The power struggle between Merkel and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer of the CSU is over his "Masterplan for Migration", a blueprint in which he wants to show voters a tough line before a Bavarian election in October.

"We believe an axis of the willing is needed to fight illegal migration", he said.

But the European Commission is staying out of the scrap, with its spokesman, as well as two commissioners, declining to comment on the legality of the CSU's plan at press briefings in Brussels and Strasbourg on Thursday, citing the sensitivity of the German situation.

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