Germany's interior minister Horst Seehofer wants quick action on migrants

Germany's interior minister Horst Seehofer says he wants to be able to start turning migrants back at the border quickly if Chancellor Angela Merkel's talks with other European Union countries fail to produce results this month.

By TT Bureau in Berlin
  • Published 18.06.18
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German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (left) talks to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the German parliament in Berlin. (AP file photo)

Berlin,Jun. 18 (AP): Germany's interior minister Horst Seehofer says he wants to be able to start turning migrants back at the border quickly if Chancellor Angela Merkel's talks with other European Union countries fail to produce results this month.

Seehofer averted an immediate collision with Merkel on Monday by giving her two weeks to talk with Germany's EU partners. She has vehemently opposed his calls for Germany to unilaterally turn back people previously registered as asylum-seekers in other EU countries.

Merkel says she will report back on July 1. Seehofer said he'd be glad to see a European agreement, but "we want this national solution unless a European solution comes together."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she will hold talks with other European countries on migration issues and report back to her party on July 1.

Merkel stressed Monday that she doesn't want to see Germany unilaterally turn back migrants at its borders, as Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has been advocating.

Seehofer's Christian Social Union party had raised the prospect of the minister taking such action in defiance of the chancellor, which has escalated the issue into a threat to her government. On Monday, the CSU agreed to give Merkel two weeks to seek agreements with European partners.

Merkel said she will hold talks at and around an upcoming EU summit and report back to her own conservative party July 1. She said it will then have to consider what happens next.

German news agency DPA is reporting that Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has made clear to his party that he wants to give Chancellor Angela Merkel until the end of June to find a European solution to migration issues.

The agency, which cited unnamed participants at an ongoing meeting in Munich of the leadership of Seehofer's Christian Social Union party, said that if no agreements with other European Union partners are reached by then, the idea would be to start turning back some migrants at Germany's border.

Seehofer's demand to turn back migrants has set off a dispute with Merkel, who is against Germany taking unilateral action. She has insisted that any response must be coordinated with other EU nations.

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