BERLIN, July 2 (Xinhua) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer on Monday night reached a compromise on their dispute over asylum policy.
Seehofer, who offered to resign as interior minister Sunday night, told reporters that he would also stay in office as he and Merkel's party have reached a clear agreement on how to prevent illegal migration in the future on the border between Germany and Austria.
Seehofer, also leader of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), made the remarks after a hours-long meeting with the leadership of the sister party Christian Democratic Union (CDU) led by Merkel.
The two parties were in a dispute over the country's future migration and asylum policy, as Seehofer believed that the European solution reached at the EU summit in Brussels last week could not satisfy his party's goal of taking a hardened asylum policy.
At the summit on June 29, European leaders reached a migration deal, under which EU member states will, on a voluntary basis, set up "controlled centers" to host and transfer migrants that landed on EU shores.
The "controlled centers" will determine who will be returned and who qualifies for asylum.
Furthermore, measures to tackle movements of asylum seekers in the EU, which were known to have the "secondary" pace and sparked a political spat in Merkel's coalition government, were also on the summit's agenda.
After the meeting with Seehofer, Merkel told reporters that there was "a really good compromise after a hard struggle," which exactly reflected the spirit of partnership in EU and was also a decisive step to control secondary migration.
According to a paper of the agreement distributed by Minister of State for Digitization Dorothee Baer, a CSU politician, the two parties agreed to introduce a new border regime on the border between Germany and Austria, in a bid to prevent asylum seekers registered in other EU states from entering Germany.
The two parties will also establish transit centers to send asylum seekers directly to the responsible countries, according to the paper.
The issue of direct rejection was the biggest one in the asylum conflict of the sister parties CDU and CSU. Seehofer had campaigned for a direct rejection at the border to prevent asylum seekers from moving from one EU country to another, while Merkel rejected this strictly and called for a European-coordinated solution.
Their escalating conflict has dragged down Seehofer's rating from plus 0.3 to minus 0.3 between June and July, according to a poll.
Meanwhile, the conflict almost toppled Germany's ruling coalition which comprise CDU, CSU and the Social Democratic Party (SPD). Without the support of the CSU, the Merkel-led government coalition could not reach the parliamentary majority.
The compromise ended the "sister dispute" developed for almost three years since the 2015 refugee crisis when Merkel decided to open the German border for refugees.
The move had impacted greatly the border state Bavaria and the dispute escalated after Seehofer became interior minister and remains as CSU chairman.
Seehofer hoped to make the asylum policy stricter to retain an absolute majority in Bavarian regional elections in October. The CSU is facing fierce competition from the anti-migration right-wing populist Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD).
Despite the heated political row over migration, the arrivals of migrants or refugees in Europe have been on a downward trend in the past three years.
According to the data of the International Organization for Migration, 52,240 migrants or refugees arrived in Europe as of June 20 this year, compared with 186,768 in 2017 and 390,432 in 2016.