- Interior minister Horst Seehofer told allies he was prepared to resign from post
- He warned allies he was ready to quit over Merkel’s handing of the migrant crisis
- Seehofer’s CSU has called for Germany’s borders to be closed to asylum seekers
- He is due to hold last minute crisis talks with the German Chancellor later today
Daily Mail, by John Stevens, July 2, 2018:
Angela Merkel’s party is ‘on the brink’ after the leader of her coalition partner threatened to quit over her handling of Germany’s migrant crisis, insiders have admitted.
The German Chancellor’s Christian Democratic Union party is to hold last ditch talks with Horst Seehofer who has told allies he is ready to resign from his cabinet post and role as leader of her coalition allies, the Christian Social Union.
Mrs Merkel, who has been German chancellor since 2005, is facing intense pressure from her Bavarian sister party, who have called for borders to be closed to asylum seekers.
The collapse of Germany’s ruling coalition was only averted after she promised Mr Seehofer that she would reach a deal at a summit in Brussels on Friday.
Last night sources said that he was dissatisfied with what she had achieved and was planning to announce his resignation. Mr Seehofer was said to have blasted the new plan as ‘ineffective’.
But he then said he would hold last-ditch talks with Merkel’s CDU this afternoon ‘in hopes of reaching an understanding’.
According to Reuters, Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble, of the CDU, has reportedly said the party was ‘on the brink’ during ongoing talks.
The disagreement follows growing discontent over her handling of the 2015 migration crisis, which saw the arrival of more than a million refugees in Germany.
If Mr Seehofer does step down, it is not clear what effect the move would have on the three-week impasse between Mrs Merkel and the CSU, but it is thought the stand-off could bring the end of her fourth term as chancellor.
Germany’s governing coalition took office only in March but Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and Interior Minister Seehofer’s Christian Social Union have had a close partnership for seven decades.
The CSU exists only in Bavaria, the CDU in Germany’s other 15 states. They stay out of each other’s territory, but campaign together in national elections and have a joint group in the federal parliament.
If the CSU were to depart the coalition, the government – a so-called ‘grand coalition’ of Germany’s biggest parties – would be left two seats short of a majority in Germany’s parliament.
Mrs Merkel yesterday insisted that a plan to control immigration agreed by EU leaders in the early hours of Friday morning would accomplish what Mr Seehofer wanted.
‘The sum total of everything we have agreed upon has the same effect,’ she said in an interview with ZDF television. ‘That is my personal opinion. The CSU must naturally decide that for itself.’
But it was reported that Mr Seehofer had told his CSU allies that he did not think the measures were sufficient.
Mr Seehofer, whose party faces a state election in the autumn, has threatened to turn away migrants whose asylum requests Germany already rejected or who already sought sanctuary elsewhere in Europe. Mrs Merkel has rejected that approach, saying Germany needs to address migration at an EU-wide level to preserve unity.
Mrs Merkel and Mr Seehofer met on Saturday night for two hours. The German leader would not comment yesterday on the outcome of the talks.
- German government crisis: What happens if Horst Seehofer resigns?