European Union tries to ease German and Italian concerns over migration

German Chancellor Angela Merkel | Bernd Von Jutrczenka  AFP via Getty Images

"It is essential to propose a new European project on immigration, on economic issues, on financial issues to consolidate Europe in a world where you have the United States on one side, China on the other and we are trapped in the middle".

"For the first time, her job is at risk".

German news agency dpa is reporting that Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has made clear to his party that he wants to give Chancellor Angela Merkel until the end of June to find a European solution to migration issues.

In the bluster of the ensuing crisis, in which the CSU briefly threatened to break with Merkel's CDU, it was easy to overlook the fact that the center-left SPD remains Germany's second-biggest party both in the Bundestag and in opinion polls and controls six of the 15 government ministries. Its dominance there makes it an important source of votes in a national election for the centre-right bloc collectively known as the Union.

A split with the CSU, their ally of seven decades, would deprive the CDU of the governing majority it commands in the Bundestag lower house in coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD).

With an eye on October's Bavaria state election, the CSU is anxious to assure voters that it has a roadmap to curb the migrant influx.

Merkel and Macron have both stressed that, as US President Donald Trump openly challenges the European Union with a trade war and over security and climate policy, the bloc must learn to stand its ground on the world stage.

But she reiterated her opposition to Germany unilaterally closing its borders as this would pass the migrant burden on to neighboring countries, "unleashing undesired domino effects".

Taking a harder line, similar to that of Hungary and more recently Austria, Seehofer has pledged what the Bavarian conservatives are calling an "asylum reversal", which includes tightening the country's borders.

In evidence of that division, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Tuesday the CSU demand for internal border checks is unacceptable.

Seehofer and Merkel have long had an awkward relationship.

It's unclear where Trump got the "10% plus" figure, nor is it clear what Trump means by the phrase "since migrants were accepted". The separations result directly from the administration's decision to enforce a "zero tolerance" policy on illegal immigration.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer's ultimatum on migrants but has two weeks to find a solution for influx of migrants ahead of the June 28-29 European Union talks.

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

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.

Merkel's woes come as European Union countries are once again at loggerheads over immigration, triggered by Italy's refusal this month to allow a rescue ship carrying 630 migrants to dock.

But Merkel also underlined that this initiative should be linked as closely as possible with the EU's ongoing defense initiative PESCO.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said it was "not the American president's role to speculate - as he did yesterday - that the German people would march towards the chancellery to remove Mrs Merkel".

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