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Merkel faces growing party pressure on refugee crisis

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has said members of the ruling CDU party are unhappy over Chancellor Merkel's pro-refugee policy. Right-wing violence has increased in Germany in the wake of the migrant crisis.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's refugee policy is being increasingly questioned by a number of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) members. In a recent party meeting, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said the mood of the party members on the refugee issue is quite bad, according to "Der Spiegel" magazine.

Schäuble's comments come just days after a survey released by "Stern" magazine said that the chancellor enjoyed strong support among members of her party.

Bavaria's Finance Minister Markus Söder, who represents the CDU's sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), said the manner in which the government deals with the refugee crisis is of "fundamental importance for the future of the parties."

"Internal security is the core issue… Therefore, the CDU and CSU have to come together," Söder told the "Bild" newspaper.

'People losing confidence'

Bavarian State Premier Horst Seehofer has urged Merkel to revise her policy regarding refugees coming from the conflict-ridden Middle Eastern countries to Germany.

"The danger of society splitting is palpable ever day," Seehofer told the state parliament in Munich, the southern city that has been Germany's initial arriving point for refugees.

Seehofer believes the chancellor's policies are paving the way for the rise of the euroskeptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the anti-foreigner PEGIDA groups.

The right-wing violence in Germany has seen a sharp rise in the past few weeks. The country's security officials warned Thursday that asylum-seekers, those who help them and pro-immigrant politicians could become the targets of xenophobic crimes, according to the newspaper "Süddeutsche Zeitung" and German public broadcasters WDR and NRD.

"If we do not solve this problem, this will hurt all political parties, because people will lose confidence," Seehofer said earlier this week.

Merkel steadfast

Merkel has thus far refused to amend her refugee policy, insisting that Germany can take in thousands of migrants in the years to come.

In her weekly podcast on Saturday, Merkel emphasized the need to quickly integrate refugees into society, stressing the importance of jobs, education and German language education. She said that less-educated migrants would be given training to help them get jobs, and that children should be quickly enrolled in schools.

Germany is also planning new rules to send home migrants who don't qualify for asylum.

shs/cmk (dpa, AFP)

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