Thursday 19 September 2019

Merkel to cap asylum seekers for first time

Agreement: German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
Agreement: German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

Justin Huggler

Angela Merkel has agreed for the first time to seek to limit the number of asylum seekers allowed into Germany each year, in a compromise deal that opens the way to coalition negotiations.

Mrs Merkel dropped her long-standing opposition to any form of cap after marathon 10-hour negotiations with the leader of her Bavarian sister party, Horst Seehofer.

The two parties agreed to a target cap of 200,000 a year. However, the number is not binding and asylum seekers will not be turned away at the German border. But it remains to be seen whether other potential coalition partners will agree to the cap on asylum seekers.

Mrs Merkel was forced into the agreement after Mr Seehofer blamed damaging losses in the election on her "open-door" refugee policy, and threatened to pull his Christian Social Union party (CSU) out of its long-standing alliance with her Christian Democrats (CDU).

Without the CSU's support, Mrs Merkel would have struggled to form a coalition with a majority in parliament.

She is now set to open coalition negotiations with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the Green Party next week, she announced yesterday. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

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