BREAKING MAJOR: Austria forms NEW INTL grp to stop migration! Merkel’s party opposes her! France, Italy trade insults!

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Germany’s interior minister, Horst Seehofer, has cancelled his participation in an integration summit hosted by Angela Merkel amid increasing signs of major disagreements between them over the country’s asylum policy.

The absence follows his decision on Tuesday to drop the launch of an “immigration masterplan” after the German chancellor refused to back a crucial point of the plan that would allow migrants deemed to be trying to enter the country illegally to be turned back at the German border, arguing that it would breach European law. She insisted the masterplan was still being discussed in detail.

Merkel has attracted criticism particularly within her CDU party for failing to back Seehofer’s push for stricter immigration rules amid cross-party concern that German asylum policy is in disarray.

Instead of attending the summit, Seehofer said he was meeting the Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz.

Kurz has been pushing for more stringent immigration rules across the EU, but is not fully behind Seehofer’s plan to return people to the country in which they were first registered.


German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, in open revolt against Chancellor Angela Merkel over immigration, has gone behind her back by seeking an unofficial alliance with Austria and Italy to stop Ms. Merkel’s open-door refugee policy. 

Mr. Seehofer told reporters after a meeting with Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz in Berlin on Wednesday that he had telephoned with Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini to agree cooperation between Italy, Austria and Germany on immigration.


Austrian chancellor Mr Kurz met with the German interior minister Horst Seehofer on Wednesday, afterwards telling reporters: “I am happy about the good cooperation that we want to develop between Rome, Vienna and Berlin. I think it marks very sensible cooperation that will contribute to reducing illegal migration to Europe.”

Having met with Chancellor Angela Merkel last night, Kurz had a Wednesday appointment with Merkel’s increasingly uneasy Bavarian conservative ally in the interior ministry.

Kurz and Seehofer announced that part of the plan would be putting German and Austrian police into Albania to prevent a migration route into the Balkans.

“It is important not to wait for a catastrophe like in July 2015; rather to counteract it,” Kurz said, referring to the European refugee crisis three years ago when a rising number of migrants arrived on the continent.

Seehofer pledges support, Merkel reticent

Merkel and Seehofer are in dispute over new a proposed new German “migration master plan,” delaying its release this week. A reported sticking point is Seehofer’s desire to send away migrants at the border if they have already applied for asylum elsewhere in Europe or if they have already been refused it in Germany. Merkel, meanwhile, is said to oppose any changes that would undermine European rules.

EU migration row boils over as Italy and France trade insults

Austria calls for ‘axis of the willing’ to take action, and rifts widen in German coalition.

France and Italy have traded insults, rifts have widened in Germany’s ruling coalition and Austria has called for an “axis of the willing” to take action as a simmering row over how Europe should handle irregular migration finally boiled over.

Rejecting French criticism of its immigration policies, Italy summoned the French ambassador on Wednesday and cancelled a planned meeting between the Italian economy minister and his counterpart in Paris.

The prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, was reportedly considering postponing a visit to Paris on Friday for talks with Emmanuel Macron after the French president said Rome had acted with “cynicism and irresponsibility” in turning away a migrant rescue ship.

Italy’s hardline new interior minister, Matteo Salvini, said the country had “nothing to learn from anyone about generosity, voluntarism, welcoming and solidarity” and demanded a formal apology.

Salvini, the leader of the far-right, anti-immigration League party, blocked the Aquarius from entering Italian ports this weekend, prompting an international outcry. The rescue vessel, which is carrying 629 migrants, was also refused by Malta and is now heading to Spain escorted by two Italian ships.

The case has reopened one of the main unresolved faultlines in European politics: how to share responsibility for migrants trying to enter the bloc from conflict zones and poor countries, mainly across Africa and the Middle East.

More than 1.8 million people have entered Europe irregularly since 2014 and Italy is currently sheltering 170,000 asylum seekers. Salvini’s League scored its best election result in March elections after pledging to deport an estimated 500,000 unregistered migrants.

Not even 100 days after she negotiated her way to a fourth term as German leader, Angela Merkel is mired in a political crisis that underscores Europe’s divisions over immigration amid a surge in populism.

The German chancellor faces a showdown with her own interior minister that threatens not only her fragile ruling alliance but also her European Union-wide vision of cooperation to deal with the migrant crisis.

The world’s most powerful woman will embark on a weekend of talks ahead of a Monday meeting that could decide her future — and potentially signal the end of the Merkel era. She has been in power since 2005.

Along with French President Emmanuel Macron, Merkel is seen as one of the last bastions of European liberal democracy amid the rise of populism across the continent.

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Merkel may be forced to make a U-turn on her open-door policy which has already been scaled back since Germany opened its borders to welcome around 1 million asylum-seekers in 2015. At times more than 10,000 people were arriving daily in the country, which had a population of around 81 million.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, a conservative critic of Merkel’s migration policy, this week pushed for an “axis of the willing” among Austria, Germany and Italy to fight illegal migration.

It is a view shared by German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who wants to reject migrants at his country’s border if they have already registered in other E.U. states to the south.

In March, Seehofer told a newspaper that “Islam does not belong to Germany.” Seehofer is a member of Merkel’s CSU Bavarian allies, who are further to the right than her own Christian Democrats (CDU). He has also vowed to implement a “master plan for quicker deportations.”

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, in open revolt against Chancellor Angela Merkel over immigration, has gone behind her back by seeking an unofficial alliance with Austria and Italy to stop Ms. Merkel’s open-door refugee policy.

Mr. Seehofer told reporters after a meeting with Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz in Berlin on Wednesday that he had telephoned with Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini to agree cooperation between Italy, Austria and Germany on immigration.

Merkel facing revolt as conservatives demand asylum clampdown! June 13, 2018! 

The chancellor is growing isolated as her party colleagues join her hawkish Bavarian allies in calling for tighter migration policies. If she fails to assert her authority, her days as chancellor could be numbered.

Angela Merkel faces fresh trouble from her Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union, over her stance on the refugee question. This time around, though, the chancellor looks more isolated than ever, as more and more Christian Democrats side with the hardline Bavarians, abandoning their leader.

As the dispute escalates, the stakes are growing and could eventually bring Ms. Merkel’s chancellorship to an end. The issue is already dividing Europe, a split that’s now being exacerbated by the Bavarian CSU leader, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, as he allies himself with other European leaders who oppose Ms. Merkel’s asylum policy, from Austria’s chancellor Sebastian Kurz to Italy’s new far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini.

The ongoing feud between Ms. Merkel and Mr. Seehofer over immigration flared up again suddenly on Monday when the chancellor rejected the interior minister’s proposal to turn refugees away at the German border if they had already applied for asylum in another European country. This measure was a key tenet of Mr. Seehofer’s “master plan for migration,” which he had planned to unveil on Tuesday. After the chancellor’s veto, Mr. Seehofer canceled the presentation of his 63-point plan.

The chancellor’s colleagues are deserting her
He was unlikely to give up the fight, though. Mr. Seehofer, the chancellor’s fiercest frenemy, has the unanimous backing of his party, which is allied with Ms. Merkel’s CDU in the German parliament, but supports more right-wing policies in its native Bavaria. “We’ll enforce it,” said Alexander Dobrindt, a former minister in Ms. Merkel’s previous cabinet and a senior CSU figure, while Markus Söder, Mr. Seehofer’s successor as Bavarian state premier, urged the chancellor to drop her open-door refugee policy, saying, “Anyone who’s serious about avoiding a repeat of 2015 needs to act now.”

Unlike in past conflicts between Mr. Seehofer and Ms. Merkel, such as his call for refugee cap, this time the chancellor’s own party members are deserting her.

Bavaria’s man in Berlin pushes Merkel to brink. Minister puts home state election first in clash with chancellor.

By JANOSCH DELCKER 6/15/18, 8:19 PM CET Updated 6/15/18, 8:27 PM CET

BERLIN — Horst Seehofer may be Germany’s interior minister but he’s doing Bavaria’s bidding. The 68-year-old’s career looked to be on the slide when he was ousted as premier of the southern state at the end of last year.

Yet he is center stage once again after pushing Angela Merkel’s government into crisis with his plan to toughen Germany’s asylum policies.

By threatening to implement his plan even without Merkel’s approval, he risks forcing the veteran chancellor to remove him — a move that would likely bring down the government and mean the end of both their careers.

It would probably also spell the end of a decades-long alliance between Seehofer’s Christian Social Union (CSU), which campaigns only in Bavaria, and Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), which runs for election in the rest of Germany.

Seen from afar, that stance may seem like flirting with political suicide. But Seehofer has his eye on Bavaria’s state election this October, in which the CSU is fighting to retain its coveted absolute majority in the regional assembly.

Bavarian conservatives on Thursday rejected a compromise on migrant policy put forward by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to avert a crisis in her loveless coalition just three months after it took office.

At stake are Merkel’s authority as well as the future of her alliance with the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) and Social Democrats at a time when European divisions over migrants are once more coming to a head.

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Merkel is at odds with Interior Minister Horst Seehofer of the CSU over his “Masterplan for Migration”, in which he wants to show voters a tough line before a Bavarian regional election in October.

In particular, Merkel objects to a plan to allow migrants drawn by Germany’s prosperity and stability to be rejected at the border if they have already registered in other European Union states to the south.

Merkel said on Thursday that it was crucial to reduce illegal migration, but added:

“I personally think illegal migration is one of the big challenges for the European Union, so I don’t believe we should act unilaterally, we should not act in an uncoordinated way and we should not act at the expense of third parties.”

At a four-hour meeting, lawmakers from the CSU backed Seehofer and said he might even defy Merkel by going ahead with his plan next week without her agreement.

CSU leader Horst Seehofer: The man who could bring down Angela Merkel?

The Bavarian conservative leader has emerged as the chancellor’s leading rival, and if he gets his way on migrants, he could be her undoing. As a look at Seehofer’s past shows, this collision has been a long time coming.

whereas the academic Merkel, who studied physics, only became politically active in her mid-30s after the collapse of communist Eastern Europe, Seehofer joined the youth organization of the Bavarian conservative party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), at the age of 20 and became a civil servant and administrator.

Merkel was a political outsider who owed her rise to the top in the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the conservative party in the rest of Germany, to a number of unlikely and fortuitous circumstances. By contrast, Seehofer worked his way up through the ranks of the CSU, earning a Bundestag mandate for the first time in 1980, serving as health minister under former Chancellor Helmut Kohl and becoming a deputy CSU parliamentary spokesman in 1998.

All the while, he patiently waited for longtime CSU chairman and Bavarian State Premier Edmund Stoiber to clear the way for higher posts. During this period, he even served as agriculture minister in Merkel’s first cabinet beginning in 2005.

After a personal scandal cost him a chance at the top job in his party in 2007, the CSU’s poor performance in regional Bavarian elections the following year gifted him a second opportunity. He served as the head of both the CSU and the state of Bavaria from 2008 to 2018, when he resigned as Bavarian state premier and moved back to Berlin.

even before he assumed his new post, Seehofer consistently opposed Merkel on the refugee issue. Beginning in late 2015, as Bavarian state premier he called for the number of refugees to be capped at 200,000. That number would eventually hit around 1 million. On Friday, he told daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung that the CDU’s decision that year to open Germany’s borders had “split Europe.” As early as September 2015, he explicitly targeted Merkel’s decision to allow refugees in Hungary to enter Germany.

Angela Merkel stands firm as Germany’s refugee row intensifies

Dispute could bring down coalition government, while leaders of France and Italy debate EU immigration policy

Angela Merkel has stood firm against unilateral moves to turn refugees back from Germany’s borders amid a tense dispute on migration policy between the chancellor and her interior minister that could yet bring down the fledgling government.

The standoff in Berlin echoed deepening divisions across Europe over how to handle irregular migration. The issue was also the focus of talks in Paris on Friday, at which the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and Italy’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, called for radical, Europe-wide changes to EU refugee policy.

Horst Seehofer, Germany’s interior minister, remained poised to carry out a threat to introduce police controls on Germany’s southern border, according to reports on Friday, as leading members of his CSU party – junior partners of Merkel’s CDU in the coalition government – urged the chancellor to back down.

The hardline interior minister is demanding the right to turn refugees away if they have already applied for asylum in another EU country or had their applications rejected in Germany, a proposal Merkel rejects as in breach of EU law and because she is determined to find a Europe-wide solution.

Merkel, who is in her fourth term as chancellor, has rarely found herself in such a precarious position. If Seehofer goes ahead and implements the most contested part of his immigration “masterplan”, she will have little choice but to sack him.

But that would lead to the collapse of her government, which has been in power for less than 100 days, and almost inevitably to the end of her chancellorship.

An interior ministry source told German media that “all that’s needed is a phone call” for Seehofer to implement his plan.

Merkel continues to insist national border controls will only speed up the end of the passport-free Schengen system. Her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said on Friday she was firmly opposed to unilateral moves to turn back refugees that could increase pressures on countries such as Italy and Greece.


h/t Digital mix guy


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