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'Constructive atmosphere' in Seehofer, Merkel conservative party meeting

The heads of Germany's conservative CDU and CSU parties have met in Berlin for "constructive" discussions on security and finance. The two parties have been at odds for months over Chancellor Merkel's refugee policy.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) met with leaders from their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Democrats (CSU), on Thursday in an effort to smooth over tensions between the parties.

Both parties appeared to be optimistic following the two-hour meeting and said the discussions had a "good, constructive atmosphere," according to sources in the CDU/CSU.

"There were very substantial talks on long-term topics," CSU head Horst Seehofer said following the meeting, adding that he was "very pleased."

The two parties discussed reorganizing the financial flows between Germany's states and the federal government, as well as retirement and equal pay.

Leaders also discussed immigration and refugee policies, which have been a source of tension between the CDU and CSU for months.

Both conservative parties have said they share a desire to limit refugees, but have yet to compromise concerning a proposed cap of 200,000.

The number has been suggested as a "figure of orientation" by the chairwoman of the CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Gerda Hasselfeldt.

Thursday's meeting did not bring any further resolutions, but seemed to be a step forward for bringing the two conservative sister parties back on the same page, with Seehofer describing the discussions as "wonderful."

rs/kl (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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