German Chancellor Angela Merkel's leadership under threat over migrant policy

The German chancellor is facing a challenge from her hardline interior minister

The German chancellor is facing a challenge from her hardline interior minister Credit Xinhua

In a series of tweets, Trump appeared to justify the strategy by claiming criminals are using children in a Trojan Horse-style operation to cross the USA border.

US President Donald Trump has attacked the German government's approach to immigration, as he comes under pressure over his own crackdown on migrants.

Although Trump has claimed that migrants cause crime in Europe, 2016 statistics from Germany revealed that there were almost 1,000 crimes targeting migrants at asylum and refugee centers.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Bavarian allies denied a newspaper report on Sunday that they will give her two weeks to deliver a European solution on migrant policy before defying her by starting to turn away refugees at the border.

If Seehofer actually goes ahead and implements it unilaterally in defiance of Merkel, it could set off a chain of events that would bring down Germany's coalition government. Still, polls suggest that its absolute majority in the Bavarian state legislature is in danger in the October 14 state election - and it is being challenged on the right by the far-right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party.

In an unprecedented split between the CDU and CSU, Seehofer has openly defied Merkel with a demand to allow border police to turn back migrants who lack valid identity papers or are already registered in another European Union country.

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Merkel and Seehofer papered over the cracks ahead of last year's national election, but support for both parties still dropped significantly.

The chancellor has long insisted that migration is a Europe-wide problem that can be solved only through a Europe-wide agreement, and that adopting Seehofer's position would spell the end to freedom of movement throughout the European Union, a cornerstone of membership in the bloc.

"The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition", he wrote.

"Whoever knows Europe, realizes this is no easy task", Merkel told reporters in Berlin yesterday after a meeting of her Christian Democratic Union's executive. She has bought herself some time but has two-week deadline to find a European solution or face the dissolution of the coalition government.

Merkel argues that Germany must not take the sudden and unilateral step of rejecting asylum seekers at the border, which would add to the burden faced by frontline countries like Italy and Greece.

But just last month, Germany's Interior Minister Horst Seehofer released statistics showing that crime is at its lowest level in more than two and a half decades. "Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!" he tweeted.

In Brussels, the European Union asylum office said Monday the number of people applying for global protection in Europe plunged past year but remains higher than before 2015, when more than one million migrants entered, many fleeing the war in Syria. It is historic, with some countries the most unsafe places in the world.

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