|Author (Person)||Rocha, Frederico|
|Series Details||June to July 2018|
A major source of tension within Germany's coalition government was unveiled in June 2018, following disagreements between Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and her interior minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) on how to handle irregular migration at the borders.
This rift is the result of a deep disagreement over how to manage irregular migrants arriving at the German borders - while Ms Merkel argues that an EU-wide solution must be found to address irregular migration, Mr Seehofer wants police to have the power to turn away undocumented migrants at the border. The standoff became more evident as Mr Seehofer engaged with other European stakeholders defending a harder stance on migration.
Horst Seehofer, who also leads CDU's Bavarian sister party CSU, reportedly told Angela Merkel that he would use a 'ministerial authorization' to institute his plan alone if a compromise was not found. He also warned against his potential dismissal, highlighting that would lead to the collapse of the coalition government. However, the CSU agreed to give Ms Merkel some time to attempt a new EU-wide agreement on migration.
On 1 July, Horst Seehofer offered his resignation as minister and CSU leader following the unsatisfactory results of two rounds of discussion held between Angela Merkel and the remaining EU heads of state and government.
+ Informal meeting on migration and asylum issues, 24 June 2018
However, a compromise agreement between the two sides was announced on the following day, thus avoiding Mr Seehofer's resignation. The deal included the creation of 'transit centres' physically located inside the German border but not technically on German soil. Migrants would then be repatriated to the European country where they first arrived - bringing in the need for bilateral agreements with those countries.
The deal was not praised by the Austrian government, which vowed to protect the country's interests in case migrants were prevented from crossing the border with Germany due to the absence of bilateral agreements on returning migrants. It was yet unclear whether the centre-left SPD, also part of the cabinet coalition, would accept such agreement between the CDU and the CSU, considering the very distinct views on migration. A similar plan was rejected by the social democrats in 2015.
|Subject Categories||Justice and Home Affairs, Politics and International Relations|
|Countries / Regions||Germany|