Merkel coalition under threat

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By Nicholas Wells  with Reuters
Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hopes of resolving a political crisis in her ruling coalition have suffered a blow, with details of a European Union deal on migrants already being called into question.

German news outlets had quoted Merkel as saying she’d secured the consent of 16 European Union member states for the rapid return of migrants who first arrived in other countries.

But Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis denied any agreement had been reached.

Hungary and Poland contradicted Merkel as well.

Merkel had been hoping the deal in Brussels would placate her coalition allies, Bavaria's Christian Social Union, who are demanding a hardening of immigration policy.

But its leader Horst Seehofer told a meeting of his conservative party on Sunday that he saw no alternative to turning some migrants back at the German border.

At a Brussels summit this week, leaders hammered out a deal to share out refugees on a voluntary basis and create "controlled centres" inside the EU to process asylum requests.