Trump insists crime rising in Germany, questioning official data

Marsha Scott
June 22, 2018

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who also leads the CSU, may be tempted to use his powers to implement his party's call for more powers to turn away refugees registered in other European Union states. Such a direct challenge to Merkel would force her to fire Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, a Bavarian who has always been a thorn in her side on migrant policy. His party holds a leadership meeting Monday which could authorize Seehofer to push through his demand.

Seehofer wants to turn some migrants away from German borders, but said a unilateral move to turn them back could divide the chancellor's coalition.

A CSU leadership meeting in Munich unanimously backed Seehofer's plan to give Merkel until the end of the month to find a solution with other European Union countries, dpa reported, citing unidentified participants in the ongoing meeting.

Merkel already has meetings scheduled Monday with Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte - the head of a new, populist government whose interior minister has pledged to deport tens of thousands of migrants - and Tuesday with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Some political analysts have speculated that the CSU manufactured the showdown with Merkel in an attempt to mobilize right-wing voters ahead of critical Bavarian state elections in October.

A government spokesman said Merkel was also seeking talks with some European Union members before the leaders summit but denied a Bild report that she was trying to set up a special summit.

She said there would be no "automatic action" and issued a warning that she was in charge of implementing measures - a thinly veiled threat that she can sack him if he goes his own way.

According to the newspaper, Seehofer intends to give Merkel two weeks on the solution of common European problem of the issue of refugees.

Macron a year ago outlined his vision for a stronger, more united Europe as a forceful reply to what was known as the National Front, a far-right party he defeated at the polls.

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Migration "is a European challenge that needs a European answer", she said in her weekly video message Saturday.

"The CDU stands behind the chancellor; the CDU stands behind a European approach", said Armin Laschet, prime minister of North Rhine-Westphalia and a deputy CDU chairman.

Merkel is under strong pressure from her conservative allies to take a harder line on migration. The two parties govern with the center-left Social Democrats.

Seehofer and Merkel have long had an awkward relationship.

Most first arrived in Bavaria, which borders Austria.

As outlined in his "migration master plan", Seehofer wants to refuse asylum access to German territory if they have already formally entered the Schengen zone via another country.

Crime has fallen off dramatically in Germany, with the country's internal ministry reporting last month that criminal offenses in Germany totaled 5.76 million in 2017, the lowest number since 1992, leading to the lowest crime rate for the country in more than 30 years.

The office said 728,470 application requests were made for worldwide protection in 2017, compared to nearly 1.3 million applications the previous year.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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