German Minister Offers To Step Down Over Merkel's Handling Of Migrants

German Minister Offers To Step Down Over Merkel's Handling Of Migrants

But separate reports from sources within the CDU's Bavarian sister party, the CSU, indicated Mr Seehofer had offered to resign both as leader of the CSU and as interior minister.

Seehofer and Merkel have been at odds over Germany's approach to mass migration.

But the leader's Christian Democrats (CDU) rely on the CSU to maintain power through a coalition, also including the centre-left Social Democrats, formed just three months ago.

It was unclear whether this was high-risk brinkmanship aimed at making Merkel back down or whether he has simply had enough.

The last-ditch attempt at an agreement follows a day of drama Sunday that ended with Merkel's party rallying behind the chancellor and the migration plan she helped negotiate with fellow European Union leaders last week.

Fourteen European Union countries have said they are prepared to sign deals with Germany to take back asylum seekers who had previously registered elsewhere, part of an effort to placate Chancellor Angela Merkel's restive Bavarian allies.

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Leaders and MPs from the Bavarian party will meet in Munich to decide their response, while Merkel and her top lieutenants will gather in Berlin.

It was not yet clear what effect Mr Seehofer's resignation might have.

Seehofer told party colleagues at an executive committee meeting on Sunday that discussions with Merkel had been fruitless, according to a party source.

A dispute over how to handle migration has plunged Merkel's three-month-old "grand coalition" into crisis and weakened the conservative leader, forcing Merkel to scramble to try to reach deals with individual European Union members.

He said that "there is an abundance of possibilities ... for compromises", but didn't specify what they were.

Mr. Seehofer, after talks with Ms. Merkel on Saturday evening, complained the conversation was "ineffective" as the chancellor refused to budge her position on the European Union deal. Before that, a joint session of the CSU and CDU parliamentary groups is scheduled to take place, although there was some doubt whether it would go ahead.

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But he and Merkel were spotted Saturday discussing the outcome with tense faces on the balcony of her Berlin office.

She could also call a vote of no confidence, which she may win or which may trigger a new election.

German press agency DPA reported that at the meeting Seehofer proposed resigning as the leader of CSU and the interior minister, but senior party officials reportedly opposed the move.

He said the two parties should be aware that the far-right Alternative for Germany, which has soared in prominence since a wave of migrants fleeing conflict and poverty headed to Germany in the summer of 2015, stood ready to benefit from a meltdown of the conservatives.

Since then, more than one million people have arrived in Germany, while Merkel's governments have repeatedly tightened immigration and asylum laws.

German 10-year bond yields dipped to five-week lows.[nL8N1TY2KJ] The U.S. yield curve held near its flattest level in over a decade as investors preferred longer-dated U.S. government debt on worries about a global trade war. Merkel's party published a position paper saying "we want to further reduce the number of refugees arriving in Germany". Ahead of a hard Bavarian state election in October, the CSU is determined to show it's tough on migration.

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