Merkel planning special European Union summit on migrant crisis

Members said Mr Seehofer would defy Merkel on Monday if no compromise has been reached by then and go ahead with the plans alone

Italy and France have also become involved in the migrant debate, with Italy's interior minister Matteo Salvini, who is the deputy Prime Minister of the country, refusing to accept new refugee boats and calling for asylum seekers to be equally distributed across the European Union, rather than being hosted by the first country they land in.

The Bild newspaper reported that they would approve plans for Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, the longtime party leader, to seal the borders to previously registered migrants, but would leave it to him to decide on the timing.

Last week, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted in a weekly podcast that the outcome of the row over immigration could be "decisive" for keeping Europe together.

"We're seeing small, positive developments, and we must of course continue to do more on the fight against crime", she said.

Her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its sister party CSU have suffered heavy losses in the country's federal elections a year ago, while the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) scored record gains and entered the parliament for the first time.

Should Seehofer opt to institute border controls immediately, it would force Merkel to make a fateful choice: Acquiesce and emerge a dramatically weakened leader, or fire Seehofer and risk a break with the CSU that could bring her government crashing down.

"I'm not aware of the report that you're referencing, but I'd be happy to check into it and circle back with you", she said.

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.

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Seehofer insisted on his right in the absence of a European deal to order police in Bavaria to start turning away migrants by next month if Merkel fails to find solutions with EU partners.

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 special summit will most likely take place before the summer European Union summit set to start on June 28, Xinhua said quoting the report.

The CSU, which faces regional elections in October, fears it could be toppled from its decades-old perch atop the wealthy southern state by the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party if it does not tighten policy towards migrants.

A CSU leadership meeting Monday in Munich is likely to authorize Seehofer to go ahead with his plan - but it's unclear at what point.

Merkel is under strong pressure from her conservative allies to take a harder line on migration. Or if they had already applied for asylum and been rejected.

This would undermine Merkel's authority as it represents a reversal of her 2015 open-door approach, and would also be a blow to the EU's Schengen open-border system.

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