BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on Germany and the debate over migration (all times local):
German news agency dpa reports that Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has told his party he wants to proceed step-by-step in his plan to turn back some migrants at the country’s borders — hinting at a compromise in a dispute with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Seehofer has been calling for Germany to turn back at its border migrants previously registered as asylum-seekers in other European countries. Merkel opposes unilateral action and wants time to discuss the issue with other European Union countries.
Citing unidentified participants, dpa reported that Seehofer told a leadership meeting of his Christian Social Union party on Monday in Munich that he wants to start by turning back people against whom authorities have issued a formal entry ban.
He says he wants to make preparations to turn back others, which would go into effect if no European agreements are reached.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Bavarian allies were expected Monday to decide how far to push in a dispute with the German leader over migration, a conflict that has escalated into a threat to her government.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is calling for Germany to turn back at its border migrants previously registered as asylum-seekers in other European countries. Merkel opposes unilateral action, arguing that it would weaken the 28-nation European Union.
Seehofer heads the Bavaria-only Christian Social Union, the sister party to Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union. The CSU is determined to show that it’s tough on migration as it faces a challenging October state election in Bavaria, and argues that that is the best way to cut support for the far-right Alternative for Germany.
A CSU leadership meeting Monday in Munich is likely to authorize Seehofer to go ahead with his plan — but it’s unclear at what point leaders want it to take effect. If Seehofer actually goes ahead and implements it unilaterally in defiance of Merkel, it could set off a chain of events that would bring down Germany’s coalition government.