Published: Wed, June 20, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Merkel rejects Trump’s Germany crime claim

Merkel rejects Trump’s Germany crime claim

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.

Their meeting, to prepare for an European Union summit on June 28-29, had been dubbed a "moment of truth" for bilateral relations by France's finance minister, as Paris has pressed Berlin for months to agree reforms to crisis-proof the bloc.

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

Merkel's Christian Democrats and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), are embroiled in their own dispute over immigration that has threatened to break apart her coalition government.

While his party supports a European solution, he added, he wants to be ready to begin turning back any migrant whose asylum process is pending in another European Union country, or who has been registered as arriving there.

Merkel and Conte agreed on the need to beef up Frontex, the EU's external border police, and to work with global organizations to tackle the causes of migration in Africa and the Middle East, Merkel said.

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.

Merkel opposes any unilateral move by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who is also CSU chairman, that would reverse her 2015 welcoming policy on migrants and undermine her authority. The CSU's share of the vote in Bavaria dropped 10.5 percentage points to 38.8 percent, with Alternative for Germany a major beneficiary.

Statistics published last month showed that overall crime fell 9.6% in Germany in 2017.

AfD lawmaker Gottfried Curio also criticised the CSU.

The EU has always been bitterly divided over migration.

But the Netherlands, Finland, Ireland, Denmark and four other northern European Union states agreed a joint position in March.

Italy closed its ports to rescue ships and said it prefers Frontex to work in Africa to prevent people from coming rather than patrol the Mediterranean and rescue those in distressed boats.

On the home front Trump has repeatedly said he wants the separations to end, but has laid blame with Democrats, the minority party in Congress, accusing them of blocking legislation on the broader issue of illegal immigration.

Despite pressure from Berlin and Rome, reform of the bloc's internal asylum rules is stuck.

The Meseberg declaration also called for creating "a European Asylum Office" which would be responsible of asylum procedures at external borders and help harmonizing asylum practices among the member states.

He said criminals were using children like a "Trojan horse" to get into America, that "a country without borders is not a country at all", and that people coming in were bringing "death and destruction". Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said separately on Tuesday it would be "very hard to reach a solution" next week.

Many economists agree with Macron that fundamental reforms are needed to strengthen the eurozone and insulate the single currency - the most potent symbol of Europe's integration - from future crises, like the 2010-13 sovereign debt contagion that almost tore the euro apart.

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