BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Bavarian allies on Monday put on hold moves to turn back some migrants unilaterally at Germany’s border, giving Merkel two weeks to find agreements with other European governments, news agency dpa reported.
Over the past week, a conflict between Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and Merkel over migrant policy has escalated into a threat to her government.
Seehofer has been calling for Germany to turn back migrants previously registered as asylum-seekers in other European countries. Merkel opposes unilateral action, arguing that it would increase pressure on countries such as Italy and Greece and weaken the 28-nation European Union.
Seehofer heads the Bavaria-only Christian Social Union, the sister party to Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union. The CSU is determined to show that it’s tough on migration, arguing that this is the best way to cut support for the far-right Alternative for Germany ahead of a challenging state election in Bavaria in October.
A CSU leadership meeting in Munich unanimously backed Seehofer’s plan to give Merkel until the end of the month to find a solution with other EU countries, dpa reported, citing unidentified participants in the ongoing meeting.
If no agreements are reached, the idea is for Germany then to begin turning back migrants.