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14 June 2018, 09:36 | Erica Roy
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called President Donald Trump's choice to break ranks with US allies-by backing out of a joint statement on social media and then deride foreign leaders-"a little depressing".
Mrs Merkel has held emergency talks with her Christian Democrat (CDU) MPs. The conflict that erupted over the plan jeopardized the coalition government, which has been functioning for only three months.
On Tuesday, several legislators from Ms. Merkel's Christian Democratic Union threatened to back Mr. Seehofer and join forces with lawmakers from the minister's Bavarian Christian Social Union in a vote to support the measure.
The ruling coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD) has 399 seats, but without the CSU that would fall to 353 - less than a majority.
Angela Merkel has a mutiny on her hands.
Ironically though, neighbouring Austria would be hardest hit if Seehofer pushes through his plan to closeGermany's doors.
But the emotional immigration issue has opened a rift between them that is deepening as the CSU faces an electoral threat by the AfD in a state poll in October. Party consensus is that it needs to appear firm on the issue of immigration.
In particular, Merkel objects to a plan which would allow authorities to reject migrants who reach German borders, drawn by the country's prosperity and stability, if they have already registered in other European Union states to the south.
It also said it supported Merkel in her initiative to allow for the return of migrants who had already applied for asylum elsewhere "in agreement with the countries most strongly affected by migration pressure within the context of the European Council".
But Merkel and Seehofer both signalled they wanted a quick end to the spat.
Salvini and Seehofer were in "full harmony on security and immigration policies", said the interior ministry in Rome after a phone call between the two ministers.
"In our view, we need an "axis of the willing" in the fight against illegal migration," Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz said after meeting with Horst Seehofer, Germany's interior minister in Berlin.
The extraordinary move was seen as a deliberate shunning of Merkel and an outright rejection of her ideas on migration policy, particularly as she had reportedly not been informed about the announcement.
Merkel, the longest-serving European Union leader, had Wednesday called immigration "a litmus test for the future of Europe" - but the issue has now rapidly turned into a test of Merkel's own grip on power at home.
Merkel's handling of the migrant crisis - which saw more than 1.6 million people arrive in Germany, starting in 2014, and helped propel the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) into parliament - has come back to haunt her in the last few weeks.
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