German vice chancellor scolds Bavaria in political row over migration | News | DW | 10.10.2015
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German vice chancellor scolds Bavaria in political row over migration

Bavaria has threatened to file a lawsuit with Germany's top court to limit the number of incoming migrants - unless Chancellor Merkel's coalition government were to do so on its own. Her vice chancellor is not amused.

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has reprimanded the southern federal state of Bavaria for threatening to file a lawsuit with the German Constitutional Court over migrant arrivals.

Gabriel told the German daily newspaper Bild that any such legal action, if it were to be initiated by Bavaria's Christian Social Union (CSU), the sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), would only incite panic and not solve anything.

Gabriel told Bild on Saturday that trying to reject migrants would not help in addressing the challenges posed by the crisis. Gabriel criticized Bavaria's interior minister Joachim Herrmann in particular for voicing the threat of going through the courts.

"There is no drawbridge that we can raise in front of Germany," he said.

"And even the CSU won't resort to having soldiers patrolling the borders with their bayonets to ward off refugees."

Supporting Syria's neighbors

Gabriel added that the number of incoming refugees would only begin to sink when the causes of the crises were remedied, referring to a lasting truce in Syria.

"Until such time, we'll just have to heavily support Syria's neighboring countries, such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, so they [the refugees] won't have any reason to leave the region."

Discord in Merkel's conservative coalition

The record waves of migrants streaming over Germany's borders has led to serious strain on the unity of Merkel's conservative political bloc. The state of Bavaria has been particularly vocal in its opposition to the chancellor's open-border policy.

Angela Merkel and Horst Seehofer

Chancellor Merkel has found herself at loggerheads with Bavaria's premier Host Seehofer over the refugee crisis

Bavaria's Premier Horst Seehofer and his cabinet have called for "emergency measures", including the rejection of asylum applications filed directly on the German border, threatening to impose their "own warranted procedures" if Merkel didn't implement changes on a federal level.

"I am banking above all on negotiated solutions in the coming weeks," Seehofer told the Bavarian broadcaster BR on Friday evening.

"Going to court against a government is only the last resort," he added.

Forecast number of migrants increases

Germans have been growing increasingly worried about Merkel's decision last month to loosen asylum laws and allow in more refugees from war zones like Syria and Afghanistan.

Germany's official forecast for asylum seeker arrivals stands at 800,000 for this year, but Bild recently reported the number could top 1.5 million.

ss/tj (dpa, Reuters)

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