Angela Merkel’s leadership is under threat after her alliance partner gave her two weeks to agree to turn away refugees at Germany’s borders.
In an unprecedented challenge to her 13 years as Germany’s chancellor, a resolution by her interior minister, Horst Seehofer, is set to be passed on Monday, party aides told German newspaper Bild Zeitung.
He wants Germany to send back migrants who have already registered in other EU countries.
The policy would undermine Mrs Merkel’s authority after she operated an open-door approach in 2015 which led to thousands of migrants entering Germany after first coming to the EU through another country.
Mr Seehofer will give Mrs Merkel two weeks to gain support from her EU partners to halt the policy, or he will carry out the order himself.
The rebel minister is leader of the Christian Social Union in Bavaria, whose parent party is Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU). The two parties are part of the same overall coalition running Germany.
Mrs Merkel is trying to get France to create a joint proposal with her to tighten asylum rules before the EU leaders summit in late June.
The government denied wanting to discuss possible bilateral solutions with Greece, Italy and Austria on how to deal with the large numbers of people fleeing conflict.
However, a spokesman said Mrs Merkel is in close contact with those states.
Mr Merkel is adamant that there needs to be a Europe-wide migrant policy, but Mr Seehofer disagrees and last week reportedly told CSU leaders in private he “can no longer work” with the chancellor.
She asked the CSU to give her two weeks to come up with deals similar to one agreed between Turkey and the EU in 2016, which means migrants arriving in Greece are sent back to Turkey if they do not apply for asylum.
In return, Turkey, which is not in the EU, receives aid and its citizens are allowed visa-free travel to the Schengen passport-free zone.
The German chancellor wants the EU to give states more power to turn away refugees to stop Germany being the only one with the policy.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, secretary general of Mrs Merkel’s CDU Party, said: “It could weaken our negotiating position and potentially impact other areas such as the euro.”
The migrant issue has come to a head this week after a new Italian government refused to let a ship carrying 629 migrants dock at its ports.
Italy’s foreign affairs minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi said on Sunday the political strategy is meant to shake consciences.
He said his country will present proposals to revamp the EU’s asylum laws at the EU summit on 28 June.
“The issue of migrants is epic and Europe has remained detached for years about it,” Mr Milanesi.
On Sunday the migrants arrived in Valencia after the Spanish government said it would take them.
They have 45 days to rest in Spain after weeks at sea before they have to start organising their legal statuses.