Amid Fractious Coalition, Merkel Deputy Resists Eurozone Joint Budget Plan

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (L) talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel as they arrive for a family picture before a French-German ministerial conference to coordinate European reform proposals ahead of EU summit on June 28-29, 2018 on June 19, 2018, at the Meseberg Palace, northeastern Germany. - German Chancellor Angela …

BERLIN (AP) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Bavarian allies responded skeptically Wednesday to the German leader’s agreement to a future eurozone budget, adding to a conflict over migration that has shaken the government.

Bavaria’s Christian Social Union party is locked in a dispute with Merkel over its demand that some migrants should be turned back at Germany’s borders. It has given her two weeks to reach agreement with European partners, with Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, the CSU’s leader, threatening to go ahead unilaterally if she doesn’t.

Merkel discussed migration Tuesday with French President Emmanuel Macron, and the two leaders also advocated a eurozone budget of unspecified size that they hope will boost investment, ahead of a summit next week of the 28-nation bloc’s leaders.

The CSU is determined to show that it’s tough on migration ahead of an Oct. 14 state election in which it wants to keep down support for the nationalist, anti-migrant Alternative for Germany party. On Wednesday, Bavarian governor Markus Soeder and his Cabinet met in Linz, Austria, with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, a leading hardliner on migration, and his ministers.

Soeder also was keen to draw a tough line on the eurozone’s finances. He questioned “whether a eurozone budget can actually be the right way to stabilize the currency.” And he cautioned against making financial concessions to secure countries’ support in taking back rejected migrants.

“The stability of the currency and the question of refugee policy are two different things,” he added. “They must not be mixed up with each other.”

“We need a change to migration policy, strengthening the rule of law,” Soeder said. “And the stability of the currency is another thing – no compromises can be made on that.”

Soeder said his party is calling for leaders of Germany’s governing coalition to meet over the eurozone budget idea. The CSU and Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, which are conservative sister parties, govern with the center-left Social Democrats.


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