Merkel and Macron both agree on the need for a Europe-wide response, and are hoping to hammer out a policy acceptable to all member states that would ease the burden on Italy, Greece and other main entry points. "We don't want what is happening with immigration in Europe to happen with us!" he said. That banished - if only for now - the spectre of Seehofer pushing through his proposal in defiance of the chancellor, which would risk bringing down her government.
The disagreement has opened up a serious rift between Mrs Merkel's Christian Democrats and Mr Seehofer's Bavarian CSU party - two parties that have been closely aligned since the end of the World War Two.
Merkel therefore needs to balance Seehofer's demands to turn away migrants who have been registered in another European Union country - often Italy or Greece as their first port of call - with the frontline nations' call for solidarity.
"We are opening a new chapter", Merkel said after talks with Macron on European reform ahead of a June 28-29 EU summit.
If no agreements are reached, the idea is for Germany then to begin turning back migrants.
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On migration, Merkel's insistence on finding common European solutions to reducing migrant numbers and other issues has met stiff resistance in her own conservative bloc, leading to a showdown over the last week with her interior minister who has insisted some categories of migrants should be turned away at Germany's borders. Such a direct challenge to Merkel would force her to fire Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, a Bavarian who has always been a thorn in her side on migrant policy. Still, polls suggest that its absolute majority in the Bavarian state legislature is in danger in the October 14 state election - and it is being challenged on the right by the far-right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party.
But Merkel also underlined that this initiative should be linked as closely as possible with the EU's ongoing defense initiative PESCO.
"Our aim remains a European answer to this challenge", Merkel said, following the day-long meeting. "Today there is a real choice of society, even civilisation that is up for discussion".
A government spokesman said Merkel was also seeking talks with some European Union members before the leaders summit but denied a Bild report that she was trying to set up a special summit.
"We wish the chancellor success in this", he said.
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"I have here in my hands figures from the Germany Ministry of the Interior under Minister Seehofer", reporter John Gizzi said.
If Seehofer were to defy her and go ahead with his plans on Monday, Merkel would nearly certainly be forced to fire him.
"Angela Merkel's coalition is coming under increasing strain over the migrant issue".
Merkel has pointed to a June 28-29 European Union summit at which migration will be a key topic as she insists on holding talks with other countries about it.
Until n, Chancellor will also try to forge bilateral agreements with countries such as Italy or Austria, so that y will accept asylum seekers who have applied in those countries.
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