Merkel Finally Agrees to Tighten Up Immigration Policies - Cortney O'Brien

Merkel Finally Agrees to Tighten Up Immigration Policies - Cortney O'Brien

She added that "that is why we have committed to spend 1.5 percent of gross domestic product for this by 2025", and defended Germany's position.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday that the European Union will make every effort to avoid a trade war with the United States, and underlined her country's commitment to raise defense spending gradually - another point of contention with Washington.

Facing a state election in October, the Bavaria-only CSU hopes to win back votes eroded by the anti-migration Alternative fuer Deutschland and prevent the bordering state from being further impacted by migration.

Sebastian Kurz, the anti-immigration chancellor of Austria, said that if the German government went ahead with the plan, he would take action to seal off Austria's southern borders with Italy and Slovenia.

Following two days of negotiations, Merkels' Christian Democtratic Union party and Seehofer's Christian Social Union made a deal that Merkel referred to as a "really good compromise".

However, according to das Bild, Seehofer called the meeting on Saturday evening an "ineffective conversation".

While Seehofer's comparatively strong stance has caused this clash with Merkel, the Bavarian leader remains a centre-right figure fundamentally unopposed to mass migration, and the new compromise will do nothing to undo the effects of decades of mass migration to Germany - most dramatically those million-plus arrivals who walked through Europe during the migrant crisis.

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

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"But how we get there I can not assess", he said. "Now that the CSU is behaving more aggressively towards Merkel and the CDU, those normally critical have come to her support".

"The security of our country begins on our borders", Merkel conceded to reporters on Monday. If that country does not have an arrangement with Germany, Austria has agreed to take them back.

Under the pact both sides hailed as a victory, Merkel and CSU head and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer agreed to tighten border controls and set up closed "transit centres" to allow the speedy processing of asylum seekers and the repatriation of those who are rejected.

CDU general secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said in Berlin party leaders were "united" behind "effective, humane solutions together with our European partners". Last week, an FG Wahlen survey said 91% favour European solutions on migration, an endorsement of Merkel's line and a snub to Bavaria's nationalist push for unilateral border measures.

"It was a mistake that will follow us for a long time", he said at the time. He insisted the CSU doesn't want to break up the conservative partnership.

As he entered a CDU crisis meeting yesterday, deputy leader Armin Laschet said the sister parties "want to hold onto" their alliance.

The idea of setting up centers at the border with Austria to process migrants is not new. About 18,000 had already applied for asylum in another European Union country.

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