Merkel, Seehofer reach last-minute compromise on migration to avert crisis

German coalition teeters as minister offers to resign over migrants

The conflict between Angela Merkel and her Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is so severe that either she loses face or they both lose their jobs and Germany is without a chancellor, political scientist Werner J. Patzelt told RT.

In this file photo taken on April 14, 2016, German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and then Bavarian state premier and leader of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) Horst Seehofer give a press conference at the Chancellery in Berlin.

Austria has said it will follow Germany in turning back asylum seekers, in widening ripples from Europe's political migration crisis.

The German chancellor defended the compromise agreement her Christian Democrats (CDU) struck with their smaller partners the Christian Social Union (CSU) to erect transit zones along Germany's southern border to speed up the deportation of ineligible asylum seekers, insisting that migration had to be better regulated. But her unilateral 2015 decision to open Germany's borders to a million refugees from Africa and the Middle East spurred the rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany, presenting the CSU with a political opponent to its right for the first time ever.

Top CSU officials had said they wanted to stay in government with Mrs Merkel's CDU.

One day into the job he caused a headline-grabbing stir by declaring that "Islam is not part of Germany", contradicting Merkel and rekindling a divisive debate about cultural identity.

Still Ms. Merkel needs the CSU deputies in parliament to maintain her majority in the three-way coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD).

Merkel told journalists after the meeting that they had reached a deal and will create transit centres in the country from which migrants will be returned to countries they were in earlier.

Both sides hammered out "a truly good compromise ... after a tough struggle and hard days", Merkel said, describing the holding and processing centres.

"If this is agreed in Berlin, we will be forced to take action to prevent harm to Austria and its people", Sebastian Kurz, the Austrian chancellor said.

Bavaria's CSU Prime Minister, Markus Söder, said "we're ready for compromises" and "for us now there is no exit from the government". One of the reasons last week's European Union migration summit was tabled.

Nevertheless, the anti-refugee, anti-Islam Alternative for Germany (AfD) was propelled into federal parliament for the first time a year ago by outrage over immigration, leading to months of paralysis while Merkel struggled to put together a workable coalition.

In Monday's deal, both sides agreed to set up closed "transit centres" - similar to existing facilities at airports - that would allow German authorities to speedily process applicants.

"Unfortunately, while the likes of the DAX, IBEX and CAC are leading the way, the FTSE 100 is struggling to make much headway, with gains in the top United Kingdom index stemmed by..." So the SPD took advantage of a rare gap in the headlines about the CDU-CSU quarrel to leak a five-point plan spelling out what it wants to see happen on the migrant issue.

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