June 11, 2018 / 3:59 PM / 2 months ago

German conservatives struggle to agree on stricter asylum rules

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has canceled the presentation on Tuesday of a policy package including stricter migration and asylum rules due to differences within Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition.

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Berlin, Germany May 30, 2018. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

“The scheduled date for the presentation of the master plan has been postponed,” the Interior Ministry said on Monday.

“Some points still need to be agreed. A new date has not yet been determined.”

Mass daily Bild reported that Seehofer, a senior member of the Bavarian CSU sister party of Merkel’s CDU, had to cancel the event due to differences with Merkel.

Seehofer wants to allow German border authorities to immediately reject asylum seekers who have already been granted asylum in another European Union country.

In addition, he wants border police to be able to immediately reject asylum seekers who have previously been deported from Germany, the Bild report said.

A spokesman for the chancellery was not immediately available for comment.

Seehofer’s CSU is heading toward a tricky regional election in Bavaria in October where his party faces tough competition from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Merkel’s conservatives have called for stricter immigration rules and faster deportation of failed asylum seekers after a public outcry over the alleged rape and killing by an Iraqi man of a 14-year old German girl last month.

Police in the Kurdistan region of Iraq said on Saturday the 20-year-old suspect, identified by German authorities as Ali Bashar, had admitted to the murder of Susanna Feldman in Germany, where the case has stoked the immigration debate.

Iraqi authorities extradited Bashar on Saturday after Kurdish security forces took him into custody on Friday. He had left Germany together with relatives earlier this month.

Merkel’s decision to welcome more than one million refugees in 2015 has boosted support for the anti-immigrant AfD party. The government has put aside more than 20 billion euros ($23.61 billion) to integrate asylum seekers and tackle the root causes of migration.

Reporting by Michael Nienaber, Editing by Catherine Evans

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