BERLIN (Reuters) – The political future of German Chancellor Angela Merkel is on Sunday in the hands of the Christian Social Union (CSU), when the Bavarian party leadership meets to decide whether to take migration agreements from Brussels.
Nine months after the elections she lost the votes to the right, a weakened Merkel.
The party leader, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, threatened to dissuade migrants from the Bavarian border. which would almost certainly trigger a government collapse.
At a Brussels summit this week, heads of state and government reached an agreement to distribute refugees on a voluntary basis and create "controlled centers" within the European Union to handle asylum applications.
Separately, Merkel announced contracts with 16 EU countries for the return of some refugees and suggested setting up reception centers where others should go through an expedited asylum procedure to improve the asylum policy initiated in 2015.
Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder, thinking of the regional elections in October in which he is being challenged by the anti-immigration alternative for Germany (AfD), has been rewarded for having pushed Merkel to a deal.
"It's absolutely going in the right direction," he said, adding that he would maintain the pressure to get more clarity about the details.
While most analysts expect Merkel to survive the conflict with the CSU, it may not be the last opportunity for the sister party to distance itself from a centrist Chancellor for her followers.
Hungary, whose Prime Minister Viktor Orban has positioned himself as Merkel's archenemy in the immigration debate that is polarizing the continent, underlines that it has not reached an agreement.
Although in a document distributed by Merkel to its coalition partners, Hungary was one of 14 countries "on a political level" to agree to withdraw some migrants who had traveled to Germany through other EU countries, the government said had not signed such an agreement.
The AfD, which held its party congress in Bavaria, where it hopes to get votes from the CSU in October, wanted to profit from the confusion.
"She will fall no matter how much she flings her arms," he said, describing the Brussels treaties as "so much hot air."
Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Arrangement of Robin Pomeroy