BERLIN, July 4 (Xinhua) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended a recent compromise on German asylum policy on Wednesday as a means to resolve infighting between the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union (CSU) over the issue.
Merkel argued that internal border control measures, as demanded by interior minister and CSU leader Horst Seehofer, and European cooperation were not mutually-exclusive. Berlin has already signed an agreement with Athens to return refugees who were already in Greece and in turn Germany will take more asylum seekers from Greece under German family-reunification programs.
The CDU leader further announced that Seehofer would soon enter talks to sign similar agreements with other countries as well. As a consequence, refugees would no longer be able to "simply choose" in which European Union (EU) member state they apply for asylum in the future.
Merkel's comments were made during a speech to delegates in the federal parliament (Bundestag) after the dramatic conclusion of a Cabinet conflict which had threatened to topple her government. Earlier, the CDU and CSU had arrived at a widely-publicized impasse over the question of whether or not to turn back asylum seekers at the German border who were already registered in another Schengen Area country.
While Seehofer wanted to refuse asylum seekers' access to German territory if they had already formally entered the Schengen zone via another country, Merkel warned of a resulting domino effect in which Germany's neighbors would rush to shutter their internal borders. Following Seehofer's threats to resign, the two conservative sister parties found a compromise by agreeing to establish so-called transit centers on the German-Austrian borders to detain asylum seekers already registered in the EU and then arranging their transfers to the responsible member state.
However, both the CDU and CSU vowed they would "not act unilaterally" in operating the transit centers and would instead seek a close administrative cooperation with all countries affected.
"In this fashion, we can preserve the spirit of partnership in the EU and at the same time take a decisive step to control secondary migration," Merkel said.
Speaking on Wednesday, the chancellor once again emphasized the lasting need for a united European response to challenges encountered during the 2015 refugee crisis. "There are needs to be more order in all forms of migration, so that citizens have the impression that the rule of law is intact," the CDU leader said.
According to Merkel, the survival of the EU hinged on whether or not it could succeed in finding a shared approach to asylum policy. The veteran stateswoman told delegates that migration was an issue which "concerns us all" and highlighted that multilateral cooperation was the only route which ensured that Germany could effectively safeguard its national interests.
"Germany's future is closely intertwined with the future of the global order," Merkel said. This circumstance applies across diverse policy areas, ranging from migration to climate change and free trade, she said.