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German deal to handle migrants faces potential veto

By Sara Shayanian
Two women with Doctors Without Borders wave to a ship carrying migrants at the port of Valencia, Spain, on June 17. A compromise agreement on migration this week by German leaders may be up against critical resistance from members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition. Photo by Juan Carlos Cardenas/EPA-EFE
Two women with Doctors Without Borders wave to a ship carrying migrants at the port of Valencia, Spain, on June 17. A compromise agreement on migration this week by German leaders may be up against critical resistance from members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition. Photo by Juan Carlos Cardenas/EPA-EFE

July 3 (UPI) -- Although German Chancellor Angela Merkel's last-minute compromise to screen migrants trying to enter Germany has not yet received necessary approval.

Merkel, leader of the Christian Democrats, and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, leader of the Christian Social Union, reached a last-ditch compromise on migration policy late Monday after two days of negotiations during which Seehofer offered to resign.

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The agreement sets up zones along the border with Austria to facilitate quick deportations for migrants not allowed to seek asylum in Germany. The deal, partly agreed to by Merkel to avoid divisions in her party, still must pass a series of approvals -- from the Social Democrats, the other part of Merkel's coalition.

In agreeing to form Merkel's coalition government earlier this year, the SPD expressly said it opposed migrant transit centers at the border, meaning it could possibly veto the deal.

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"Transit centers are in no way covered by the coalition agreement," SPD migration expert Aziz Bozkurt told Die Welt.

Without SPD approval, the agreement cannot be implemented. SPD leader Andrea Nahles said there's still "a lot that needs to be discussed."

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"We'll take the time we need to come to a decision," she added.

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The deal also faces a potential challenge from the European Union. Before any agreement can be passed, the German government must consult with the European Commission to see if it's compatible with EU rules.

Merkel called the proposal a "good compromise."

"As such the spirit of partnership in the European Union is preserved, and at the same time it's an important step to order and control secondary migration," Merkel said. "We have found a good compromise after tough negotiations and difficult days."

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