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Germany's Merkel seeks European solution to migrant dispute
Last Updated: 2018-06-20 03:50 | Xinhua
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German Chancellor and Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader Angela Merkel held urgent talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday in an effort to find a European solution to a domestic cabinet dispute over refugee policy.

Merkel and Macron jointly stressed the need for an EU-wide solution to the migration crisis that is currently casting a shadow over cooperation between European neighbors, according to German news agency dpa.

"Our aim remains a European answer to this challenge," Merkel said, following a day-long meeting at the official government retreat of Meseberg near Berlin. She noted that formulating a joint EU asylum policy was difficult.

Macron echoed her words: "We believe in a European answer to the challenges that migration poses for us," he said, adding that for him all 28 member states had to be involved, according to dpa.

At home, Merkel has been under intense pressure to find a European alternative to the "migration master plan" unveiled by German interior minister and Christian Social Union (CSU) leader Horst Seehofer within two weeks.

The CDU's Bavarian sister party and coalition partner has threatened to press ahead with its own plans without obtaining the chancellor's consent if no solution is found until then.

The CDU and CSU have recently reached a political deadlock over the question of whether or not to turn back asylum seekers at the German border who were already registered in another Schengen area country.

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.

By contrast, Merkel has warned of a resulting domino effect as Germany's neighbors rush to shutter their internal Schengen borders and is calling for a joint European solution to the "refugee crisis" to be reached within the next two weeks.

Speaking to dpa on Tuesday, Bavarian governor Markus Soeder (CSU) expressed skepticism that Merkel would succeed in meeting the tight deadline set by the CSU.

"We do not believe that a European solution will be reached within two weeks -- it has already failed to materialize for three years (since the height of the 2015 refugee crisis, note)," Soeder told dpa.

The Bavarian governor said that he would welcome a "truly effective European regulation" but warned against delaying the matter with a superficial and non-binding resolution at the June EU summit.

In the meanwhile, a poll published on Tuesday in the newspaper BILD suggests that the CDU and CSU have suffered a loss of public trust as a result of their escalating cabinet rift.

Some 29 percent of respondents said they support the electoral alliance formed by the two conservative parties, down by two percentage points.

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