June 20, 2018 / 8:30 AM / 6 months ago

Most Germans doubt Merkel will get European immigration deal - poll

BERLIN (Reuters) - Three-quarters of Germans do not believe Chancellor Angela Merkel will manage to secure a European solution to the immigration dispute that is plaguing her relationship with her Bavarian allies in government, a survey showed on Wednesday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures as she welcomes representatives of the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT) in Meseberg, Germany, June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

Bavaria’s Christian Social Union (CSU) on Monday gave Merkel two weeks to get a deal with European allies after Germany’s coalition government almost cracked apart as Merkel’s Christian Democrats and their sister party rowed over immigration.

The survey of 5,038 people by pollster Civey for newspaper Die Welt showed that 74.7 percent were sceptical while 18.1 percent believed Merkel would conduct successful negotiations.

Horst Seehofer, CSU leader and Germany’s interior minister, wants to turn away migrants who have already registered in other EU states but Merkel opposes any unilateral move to reverse her 2015 open-door policy and undermine her authority.

Bavaria’s CSU Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann told German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk he was optimistic that Merkel would secure bilateral agreements with other EU countries about returning migrants.

But he pointed to comments from Seehofer that preparations would be made in case Merkel was unsuccessful so the federal police could reject migrants who have registered elsewhere from the first week of July.

“This is necessary. We can no longer look on as this refugee tourism across Europe happens,” Herrmann said.

He added that rejecting from July 1 migrants who have already registered in other EU countries would be legal: “It’s the existing law.”

Volker Kauder, head of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, warned Germany against taking unilateral action on refugee policy, telling broadcaster ZDF: “I believe that in the end we can only solve the problem with our European neighbours and not by going it alone.”

He expressed optimism that Merkel would manage to seal deals with European partner countries to take back refugees.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is likely to meet Merkel and other European leaders this week to discuss migration, he said on Wednesday.

Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Catherine Evans

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