European Union tries to assuage German, Italian concerns on migration

Erika Holt
June 20, 2018

German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted French President Emmanuel Macron on June 19, 2018 to hammer out reforms that can stop the "disintegration" of the European Union, torn by populist forces and deep discord over immigration.

And 86 percent want faster deportations of rejected asylum seekers, a process now often held up by bureaucratic hurdles and legal challenges, according to the Infratest dimap poll.

On June 18, the CSU gave Merkel until the European Council meeting on June 28-29 to find a bloc-wide solution to the situation of immigrants reaching the European Union.

Their joint draft statement is not public and its wording might change.

"If the Bavarian CSU does not agree to any compromise on migration policy, her current government may fall apart shortly".

The CDU and CSU have recently reached a political deadlock over the question of whether or not to turn back asylum seekers at the German border who were already registered in another Schengen area country.

Both Macron and Merkel highlighted the need for the EU's external borders to be strengthened by boosting the so-called Frontex border and coast-guard agency.

The BAMF has been at the heart of a scandal around the right of asylum for several weeks, with one of its branches in Bremen, northern Germany, under investigation for allegedly favouring more than 1,200 asylum applications.

Two parties have made up Germany's mainstream centre-right in the post-World War II era: the Christian Democratic Union, currently led by Merkel; and the Christian Social Union, now led by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.

Seehofer's remarks don't come as a surprise: His CSU faces a tight election in the German state of Bavaria.

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Trump's claim on crime goes against crime figures in May that pointed to an overall decline in Germany over the past year.

The AfD on Tuesday accused the CSU of copying its ideas on how to deal with the migrant crisis.

The EU has always been bitterly divided over migration.

It has struggled to reform its internal asylum rules, which broke down in 2015, and has instead tried to tighten its borders and prevent new arrivals.

Trump has sought to use the widespread outrage over the family separations to push through other immigration priorities that have stalled in Congress, such as funding for his long-promised wall along the Mexican border.

Conversely, if Merkel accepts Seehofer's plan, it would cause a domino effect across the Balkans, as countries such as Austria and Slovenia could follow suit and close their own borders to migration.

"Such platforms should provide for rapid processing to distinguish between economic migrants and those in need of worldwide protection, and reduce the incentive to embark on perilous journeys", the draft statement said. Tell them to start thinking about the people who were tortured by the crime that occurs because of illegal immigration.

Italy and France have also become involved in the migrant debate, with Italy's interior minister Matteo Salvini, who is the deputy Prime Minister of the country, refusing to accept new refugee boats and calling for asylum seekers to be equally distributed across the European Union, rather than being hosted by the first country they land in.

National contributions and European resources would be used to fund the budget, the leaders said in the declaration.

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