A Compromise On Migration Keeps German Chancellor Angela Merkel In Power

04 Juillet, 2018, 14:20 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • European Union leaders cried victory Friday claiming to have set aside major differences over how best to handle migrant arrivals. (AP Ph

After almost 13 years at the helm of Europe's biggest economy, many experts had expected the 63-year-old chancellor would not serve her whole term, especially given the clause in the coalition's deal allowing the parties to review progress in two years.

"That's why we will continue these talks this week and we agreed to meet again on Thursday evening", Nahles told reporters after a two-and-a-half-hour meeting in the chancellery.

Under the compromise, the refugees who have already applied for asylum in other European Union countries will be held in transit centers on the border while Germany negotiates bilateral deals for their return.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her government haven't had a good couple of weeks. A Forsa poll on Monday showed 67 percent of Germans viewed Seehofer's position as irresponsible.

Seehofer said he wants to turn asylum-seekers who have already been registered in another European Union country back at Germany's border, but Merkel was adamant that Germany shouldn't take unilateral action.

"The cost of getting to this deal ended up being much higher than the benefit of the actual outcome", she said.

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However, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker responded positively to the plan, which needs the backing of fellow EU states if it is to succeed.

Juncker was upbeat. "I have not studied it in detail but at first glance - and I have asked the legal services to look at it - it seems to me to be in line with the law", he told a news conference in Strasbourg.

"The (Austrian) government is therefore prepared in particular to take measures for the protection of our southern borders", Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and other cabinet members said in a statement, without elaborating. And that's why I think we've come up with a really good compromise today after tough negotiations and hard days.

The CSU had threatened tighter border controls which Merkel rejected, insisting on a European solution. Seehofer added that he also plans to talk with Italian authorities.

The leaders also agreed to tighten the EU's external border; to give more money to countries such as Turkey and Morocco to help prevent migrants setting off for Europe; and to set up processing centers in countries across North Africa to deter migrants, and to sort out war refugees from economic migrants. The challenge from the Christian Social Union (CSU), which has functioned as the Bavarian wing of Ms. Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) since the founding of the Federal Republic, was unprecedented in its ferocity.

Knaus, director of the thinktank ESM, said the deal struck by the German government could have the unintended effect of increasing migration into Germany, if for example the Greek government used the new agreement to unite families with people who had already arrived in Germany, while in return taking back some asylum seekers who have been finger-printed in Greece.

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