German opposition groups slam Merkel-Seehofer deal

European Union leaders cried victory Friday claiming to have set aside major differences over how best to handle migrant arrivals. (AP Ph

Speaking of the deal after terse negotiations on Monday, Mrs Merkel said: "We want on the one hand to set up transit centres in Germany and from there carry out returns in agreement with countries from which asylum seekers come and where they are already registered".

There was no stopping him.

Mr Seehofer described the agreement as inadequate and warned he could resign. However, as per reports, questions were already being asked about how it will work on the border with Austria.

Among the German proposals is a plan to send back to Austria asylum seekers arriving in Germany who can not be returned to their countries of entry into the European Union.

Ms Merkel also secured agreement from Greece and Spain to take back from Germany migrants who previously registered in those countries.

While the deal sounded very similar to one offered by Merkel and rejected by Seehofer last week, the interior minister said he was happy with it, saying the compromise would have a "very clear lasting effect on the future".

However, after a night of high drama, Seehofer later said he would hold last-ditch talks with Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) "in hopes of reaching an understanding".

Although Ms. Merkel lives to govern another day, her coalition government is now more fragile than ever and her own position considerably weaker. Talks between Merkel, the Christian Social Union and Social Democrats continued Tuesday evening.

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He told colleagues on Sunday he saw no alternative to turning migrants back at the border despite Merkel's efforts in Brussels last week and that discussions with the chancellor had been fruitless, according to a party source.

Merkel has rejected that approach, instead insisting on a European-wide solution to migration issues to preserve EU unity.

The Bavarian politician received support from the new populist government in Italy, which has been forceful in its insistence that something be done to ease its situation at the forefront of immigration.

Seehofer was due to travel Thursday to Vienna to push his plan.

"If you include services like the digital services, then you have a completely different trade balance sheet with the USA showing a surplus against the European Union", she noted. The centre-left Social Democratic Party, which is also a member of the Merkel government, needs to acknowledge it or else, the government might fall.

She said she would wait and see what the leadership of the two parties decides "and then we will see what comes next, step for step".

The dispute has raised the possibility of an end to Germany's decades-old conservative alliance between the CSU and Merkel's CDU if Seehofer goes ahead with the unilateral move, which could bring down her government.

The compromise ended the "sister dispute" developed for nearly three years since the 2015 refugee crisis when Merkel made a decision to open German border for refugees. The latest summit also called for refugee centers in non-EU countries, especially in Libya, to forestall the perilous voyage across the Mediterranean.

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