Germany's Seehofer announces deal with Merkel, drops threat to quit

In controlling Germany's southern border to a greater degree than it has been recently, Germany will establish transit zones where migrants will be screened and those who have already applied to asylum elsewhere in Europe sent there - a move upholding the word of European law as laid out in the so-called Dublin regulations.

Without Monday night's compromise, Mr. Seehofer would have been fired or would have resigned, which could have brought down the government if his party then withdrew from the coalition.

Seehofer had earlier complained he had "no support" over his plan to shut Germany's doors.

"It is fair to ask: has the CSU lost its mind?"

"In the end the government could fall and an old, proud party could descend into ridiculousness - and all of that to solve a problem that in reality hardly is one" given the dramatically lower numbers of asylum seekers arriving in Germany this year.

Her own interior minister, Horst Seehofer, has threatened to resign.

Mrs Merkel says a good compromise was found, Reuters news agency reports.

As he entered a CDU crisis meeting Monday, party deputy leader Armin Laschet insisted that the sister parties "want to hold onto" their alliance.

"I am glad that this agreement has succeeded", he told reporters. Her unpopular policy was a large reason why her party, the Christian Democratic Union, crashed and burned in last September's elections.

What did Mrs Merkel negotiate with the EU?

Merkel, who has long favored open borders between European countries, agreed to allow "transit centers" along the Austrian border for the objective of screening asylum seekers.

Looking relieved, Ms. Merkel hailed a "very good compromise" that would "control" new arrivals of migrants and asylum seekers while upholding European Union cooperation and values.

Germany's political crisis is the latest sign of a growing divide across the European Union between those who want to maintain open borders and those who want to restrict the number of migrants entering the bloc.

As the CDU and CSU parties hunkered down in Berlin and Munich, a compromise appeared ever more elusive.

Though the heated showdown is by far the worst yet between Seehofer and Merkel, it is by no means the first provoked by the Bavarian former state premier who is known for his unvarnished straight talk and political brinkmanship.

Director of the Berlin office of the German Marshall Fund, Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff added regarding Merkel: "Her political capital is depleted".

Kurz's conservatives won last year's parliamentary election with a hard line on immigration, pledging to prevent any repeat of the 2015-2016 migration crisis in which Austria took in more than 1 percent of its population in asylum seekers and more than a million crossed its territory into Germany.

However, Seehofer agreed to see Merkel on Monday before making a final decision.

"In this case, the CSU, Seehofer's party, would quit the coalition government", he continues.

  • Eleanor Harrison