CSU leader Horst Seehofer, who serves as interior minister in Merkel’s coalition government, said during a party meeting on Monday that Merkel had until the June 28-29 European Union summit to come up with a lasting solution to the burning issue of refugees.
Seehofer said if Merkel fails to do so, he would order a shutdown of the border for refugees, Presstv Reported.
The CSU has felt the pressure over a decision by Merkel in 2015 to allow in more than a million refugees from an unprecedented influx that hit the European shores at the time. CSU leaders argue that the liberal asylum policy has affected security in Germany while it has boosted the public standing of nationalist and far-right groups.
Merkel, whose own Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party scored the poorest ever results in the September general elections, has repeatedly defended her decision to accept refugees.
Merkel has admitted at the same time that there is a need for a deal that could coordinate Europe’s policy on the issue, especially at a time when the right-wing parties are on the rise in various European countries, including in Italy, a frontline nation dealing with refugees, and in Germany’s neighboring Austria, where more and more refugees are being turned away.
Reports said Merkel was to meet new Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte later on Monday while she is planned to meet French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday to discuss plans for a deal on refugees in the upcoming EU summit.
Addressing her own party leadership in Berlin on Monday, Merkel said that Germany had a responsibility to help the southern European nations deal with increasing refugee arrivals.
“How Germany acts will decide whether Europe stays together or not,” Merkel said, according to participants in the CDU meeting on Monday.
In the CSU gathering in Bavaria, the party leaders echoed Seehofer’s concerns in addressing Merkel’s refugee woes.
Leading CSU figure Alexander Dobrindt told the meeting that Germany had to show the world that the country was no longer a destination for refugees struggling to reach to the European shores.
An unnamed CDU source, however, said that if Seehofer really ordered the police to turn away refugees, as he gave his word to CSU leaders in Monday, that would mean a real and serious crack in the conservatives.
He said such an order would be an “end of the government and the alliance between CDU and CSU,” while Merkel would consider it a rebellion and would swiftly sack Seehofer.