Merkel Accepts Deadline in Coalition Fight Over Refugees

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Germany's interior minister is insisting that his party has no intention of bringing down Chancellor Angela Merkel and her government, but there's no sign yet of a compromise in a bitter standoff over migration.

The decision sparked some opposition, most recently in the form of Interior Minister Horst Seehofer's open challenge to the policy, and a public poll showing 62 percent of Germans want to turn away asylum-seekers at the border.

Paris and Berlin are racing to bridge the gap between Macron's vision of grand European Union reforms and Chancellor Angela Merkel's more prudent approach by a crunch eurozone summit on June 29. Such a direct challenge to Merkel would force her to fire Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, a Bavarian who has always been a thorn in her side on migrant policy.

Citing unidentified participants, dpa reported that Seehofer told a leadership meeting of his Christian Social Union party on Monday in Munich that he wants to start by turning back people against whom authorities have issued a formal entry ban.

French President Emmanuel Macron heads to Germany on Tuesday seeking progress with Chancellor Angela Merkel on elusive eurozone reforms, but the deepening European Union rifts over migration threaten to dominate an already daunting agenda.

Merkel emphasized the need for Germany's conservative parties to stick together, but she and Seehofer may only have delayed a head-on clash.

Some political analysts have speculated that the CSU manufactured the showdown with Merkel in an attempt to mobilize right-wing voters ahead of critical Bavarian state elections in October.

The leaders of Germany and France agreed Tuesday to create a Eurozone budget they hope will boost investment and provide a safety mechanism for the 19 nations using the euro currency, and also to seek a European solution to migration issues. Merkel said she will have to discuss "what is important for others; I can't say today what that is".

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So far, rescuers have rescued 19 passengers of the boat, said Riadil Lubis, head of the provincial disaster management agency. Authorities have deployed rescue vessels to the scene but bad weather has halted the operation for the night.

So Seehofer "graciously" gave her two more weeks, upon which Merkel stated that if her minister acted unilaterally, she would tell him where to get off.

"It's in Germany's interest to achieve a controlled migration in good partnership with our European neighbors", she said. "(The CSU) fears losing the absolute majority in the Bavarian regional election", AfD co-leader Alexander Gauland said.

If Seehofer were to defy her and go ahead with his plans on Monday, Merkel would nearly certainly be forced to fire him.

However it ends, the spat has laid bare the limits of Merkel's authority in a fractious government that took office in March after almost six months of postelection haggling.

In an op-ed piece for the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung released later Sunday, Seehofer said he "must have the right to turn back" people who aren't entitled to enter.

Seehofer has been one of the fiercest critics of Merkel's liberal stance.

The office said 728,470 application requests were made for global protection in 2017, compared to nearly 1.3 million applications the previous year.