Merkel under pressure to tighten policy on refugees

After a disillusioning summit the EU is struggling to find a united stance

Near-bankrupt Greece famously spends a far higher proportion of its GDP on the military than Germany, although there are numerous historical reasons for this on both sides.

This week-long policy fight may seem like a storm in a teacup from afar-and is not the first time the chancellor's demise has been predicted-but it highlights how the political playing field has changed for Merkel in her fourth term.

Seehofer this week went over Merkel's head to band together with the right-wing leaders of Italy and Austria to discuss an ominous-sounding "axis of the willing" to stop immigration.

He was all set to present the proposal on Tuesday, but Merkel put a stop to it over one point: the German police were to be allowed to reject migrants at the border if they had registered first in another European Union country or turn up without papers.

"It is important that the governments and not the smugglers decide who comes to Europe", he said.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is to hold last-ditch talks to save her coalition government this weekend amid a major European rift over migrant policy. There is a master plan to solve the migration crisis, which consists of 63 ideas of Horst Seehofer.

"This must have to do with the coming election in Bavaria because it is vital for the Conservatives to win an overall majority because that's why they have a national importance".

He has said he believes that his proposed measures are "necessary" to restore "order in Germany" and that he would not "publish a half-baked plan with lazy compromises".

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He also wants to block migrants whose asylum applications in Germany have been rejected from returning to the country.

Bavaria's Christian Social Union (CSU) party moved swiftly on Friday to deny it planned to dissolve its decades-old alliance with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, after a report to that effect appeared on a hoax Twitter account.

The CSU's secretary general Markus Blume said Germans wanted to see the government get immigration under control.

Mr Seehofer was a leading critic of Ms Merkel's welcoming stance in 2015 and has been taking an increasingly hard line ahead of Bavarian state elections this autumn.

"The people are running out of patience", he told Bild daily. "That's why we have police at the border and it is right to have them there".

In that scenario, Merkel could lead a minority government with the third party in the coalition, the Social Democrats (SPD), or call fresh elections that would likely benefit only the AfD, he said. "I am not going to comment on it no matter what's the source of it", he said during the briefing.

Merkel wants two weeks to try to strike bilateral deals with partners, such as Italy and Greece, on migrants and to make progress at an European Union summit on June 28-29 on an EU-wide policy.

On that last point at least, the two leaders saw eye to eye, with Kurz saying he wanted to beef up the EU's border force Frontex and give it more powers to "reduce the number of arrivals".

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