Little sign of compromise in German govt showdown

European Union leaders meet for a two-day summit to address the political crisis over migration

European Union leaders meet for a two-day summit to address the political crisis over migration

Sources said Seehofer complained in Sunday's closed meeting with party bosses that he had endured a "conversation with no effect" with the chancellor on Saturday about whether the EU-wide deal and string of bilateral agreements she struck met his demands.

In a document sent to leaders of her coalition partners, Chancellor Angela Merkel listed 14 countries which had agreed to take back migrants.

CDU Secretary General Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told reporters at the party headquarters that their executive board would not take any decision before an official statement of Horst Seehofer, which was expected later Sunday night.

But according to reports from a crunch party leadership meeting in Munich that stretched into early Monday morning, other party leaders were trying to dissuade Seehofer from stepping down.

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

The quarrel threatens to derail Germany's fragile coalition and the 70-year-old alliance of CDU and CSU.

"It is a precious thing for our party system and that is why I'm confident that we will succeed", he said.

Seehofer's "migration master plan" foresees turning away asylum-seekers at Germany's border if they entered the European Union from another member state and first registered there.

Although the number of migrants has dropped sharply since the crisis began in 2015, the influx has nonetheless stoked anti-immigrant sentiments across Europe, particularly in countries such as Germany and Italy, where last month the issue helped propel a right-wing government to power. The CSU is fighting state elections in Bavaria in October and, under pressure from the far-right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD), is seeking to burnish its own anti-refugee credentials in an attempt to win back voters.

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Merkel said in an interview with ZDF television that the formal agreements and verbal commitments she had secured from her EU partners would have the migration-stemming effect the CSU wanted to achieve, but in a more European-minded fashion. Or if they had already applied for asylum and been rejected.

Traugott thinks this is unlikely. 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.

But the CSU and CDU together form a center-right force that has dominated national politics for decades.

"Seehofer, who has nearly totally lost power in the CSU, now appears to want to bring down the chancellor in a kind of indirect political suicide. ending his career under the motto: first me, then the party, and maybe then the country", wrote the Hannoversche Allgemeine newspaper in an editorial.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday will make a last-ditch effort to end a migration row with her conservative allies by holding more talks with her interior minister, whose offer to resign cast doubt over whether her fragile government can survive.

That left him with only three options.

That would be extremely hard, as both parties have "very different ideas on migration policy" to the CDU and SPD.

Nadine Schmidt reported from Berlin and Judith Vonberg wrote in London.

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