(Bloomberg) -- Angela Merkel’s Christian Social Union partners reacted positively to a European Union deal on migration ahead of crunch talks this weekend aimed at ending a dispute with the German chancellor over refugee policy that has destabilized the ruling coalition.
Hans Michelbach, a deputy leader of the Bavaria-based CSU in the lower house of parliament, said party officials will assess the measures agreed overnight at a summit in Brussels and Merkel will discuss the outcome with CSU Chairman Horst Seehofer over the weekend. He insisted the long-standing alliance between the CSU and Merkel’s Christian Democrats remains “an absolute priority.”
“It’s a positive signal that things are moving in Europe in the right direction,” Michelbach, a CSU moderate, said on Germany’s ARD television on Friday. “We have to recognize that there has been movement and from our side that can certainly be seen as positive.”
Seehofer, who also serves as interior minister in Merkel’s cabinet, has taken a hard line on immigration ahead of an October regional election in Bavaria and has given Merkel a weekend deadline to tighten border controls.
Seehofer has threatened to take unilateral action and send back some asylum seekers. Merkel rejects the idea, raising the prospect of a split with the CSU that could leave her without a majority in parliament and bring down her three-month-old coalition government with the Social Democrats.
“We want to work with each other,” Michelbach said. “The alliance with the CDU is an absolute priority, there is no doubt about that.”
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