German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday faced a showdown within her conservative camp over the flashpoint issue of immigration that could threaten her political future.
After late-night talks Wednesday failed to resolve the heated dispute, a parliamentary session was suspended Thursday to allow the rival camps to huddle for tense strategy meetings.
Merkel is facing a rebellion from her hardline Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who demands that German border police be given the right to turn back migrants without identity papers or who are already registered elsewhere in the European Union.
The veteran chancellor fears that such a move would be seen in the EU as Germany going it alone and hurt over-burdened frontline Mediterranean countries such as Italy and Greece, and has urged a negotiated EU response instead.
Merkel, the longest-serving EU leader, called immigration “a litmus test for the future of Europe” on Wednesday — but the issue has now rapidly turned into a test of Merkel’s own grip on power at home.