Merkel to support Italy in tackling migration challenge

Merkel to support Italy in tackling migration challenge

Seehofer's "migration master plan", which Merkel last week refused to endorse, would see asylum seekers arriving at Germany's borders turned away if they have no identification papers, have already had an asylum claim rejected in Germany, or are already registered in another country in the EU - proposals that rights group say contravene European and global agreements.

On Monday the foreign affairs minister, SPD lawmaker Heiko Maas, tweeted a strong defense of Merkel and a Europe-wide response to migration: "The EU stands for a promise that has made Europe a place of longing worldwide".

But the interior minister was forced to cancel a planned presentation of his vision after Merkel disagreed with his proposal to turn some asylum seekers away at the borders, sparking last week's dramatic escalation of discord within the conservative bloc. But Seehofer's party faces a crucial election in October, and it is determined to toughen its stance on migration, faced with the growing popularity of the anti-immigrant, populist party Alternative for Germany.

If he actually does so unilaterally in defiance of the chancellor, many observers believe Merkel would likely have to fire him - which in turn could effectively end her current governing coalition and the conservative parties' decades-old alliance in national politics.

For all the noise, the CSU knows that there is more at stake.

The German government said no special EU summit is planned, and that would be a matter for EU leaders in Brussels, but "of course the German government is holding talks with various member states and the (EU) Commission" about immigration in Europe.

In an editorial for German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), Seehofer said he hoped the European Union summit later this month would "finally reach agreements acknowledging Germany's [refugee] burden, ensure the effective protection of the EU's external borders, the fair distribution of people with the right to stay and the rapid deportation of those without".

The ministerial meeting, held at a castle north of Berlin is seen as crucial to the leaders achieving a consensus before a key European Union summit at the end of this month.

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"The situation is serious but still solvable", he wrote.

"The CDU and the CSU have the common goal of better organising and steering immigration into our country and significantly reducing the number of people entering this country", she said.

Merkel now faces the challenge of persuading European Union governments to sign up to a common plan on the migrants.

Despite howls of protests from aid groups and even the United Nations, Rome has banned rescue vessels carrying migrants from docking.

Merkel also distanced herself from plans of turning away migrants at the border, saying that such a move "could lead to negative domino effects" in Europe.

Later in the day, she will host the new Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, who is heading a government with an anti-immigration agenda.

When she finally gave a reply several weeks ago, it fell short of many of Macron's core demands.

Merkel said she would first present the results of the talks to her own party on July 1 and then discuss them with her Bavarian allies.

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