Growing row over migration threatens German coalition


Merkel is scrambling to hold together her conservative alliance while she pushes other European Union member states to show more solidarity on the issue of distributing refugees.

Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert, who was at a government news conference at the time of Friday's tweet, said there were signs that the tweet actually came from a writer at the satirical magazine Titanic.

It cost her dearly in the 2017 election as her party bled voters to the far-right Alternative for Germany. Merkel can draw some comfort from the positive reception her compromise got among CDU lawmakers, many of whom had this week voiced at least some support for Seehofer's plan. A dispute between Chancellor Angela Merkel and one of her ministers could cause her fragile coalition to splinter and possibly even force her out of power.

Seehofer, of the Bavarian conservative CSU party, has put himself on a collision course with Merkel by proposing, as part of a national "migrant masterplan", that Germany ould turn away at the border migrants registered in other European Union states.

After Merkel nixed Seehofer's plan, the situation escalated into a war of words that pitched the conservative sister parties against each other.

Merkel argues that Germany must not take the sudden and unilateral step of rejecting asylum seekers at the border, which would add to the burden faced by frontline countries like Italy and Greece.

On Wednesday, Merkel called immigration "a litmus test for Europe" that necessitated "a truly unified approach".

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"Countries are committed to the paths taken by their heads of state or government", he told reporters.

The CDU, Merkel's party, governs in so-called grand coalition with Social Democrats, or with its Bavarian bror party, CSU, with which it also shares a parliamentary group.

Seehofer was quoted Friday as telling the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung that it was Merkel's CDU "that brought about the division of Europe with the refugee decision in 2015". Of these, some 30 percent could end up being turned back at the border if current European Union rules on asylum are applied, according to German officials.

Germany, a country of some 80 million, now sees about 11,000 new asylum-seekers per month.

Germany's finance minister, a Social Democrat, seemed to suggest that further intrigue within the coalition could end in a bloodbath. "All those involved should never forget this".

Chancellor Angela Merkel says Germany is committed to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation target of spending 2 percent of a country's gross domestic product on defense, but is realistic about reaching it.

Amidst the surprise announcement by the European Central Bank to detail its QE exit and alter its rate guidance, a report had surfaced that the German coalition that took 6 months to form could be on the brink of collapse with Bavarian sister party CSU threatening to break away due to different opinions over immigration policy.