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Germany

Schröder Starts Make-or-Break Immigration Talks

Chancellor Gerhard Schröder on Tuesday launched a final round of negotiations with opposition leaders in the hopes of reaching a last-chance compromise on a complex and controversial immigration law. The new set of rules, originally drafted in 2000 to help recruit talented immigrants to fill a shortage of skilled labor, has become bogged down in fears that the law allows foreign extremists to enter the country. An ensuing partisan dispute broke out with the conservatives linking any agreement on immigration to demands for tougher measures against terror suspects. Many prominent opposition politicians have called for a proposal allowing for foreigners who are deemed dangerous to be held up to two years in custody. In an attempt to find a compromise, Schröder's Social Democrats have hinted there might be room for discussion on the issue. But the junior coalition partner, the Greens, have adamantly opposed such measures and have signaled they would not sign on to such a law. After years of talks and two failed attempts to push through the package, Schröder said if no deal is reached during this final round, he will go ahead without the opposition's approval and try to introduce those aspects of the bill which do not require the support of the upper house of parliament, where the opposition has the majority.

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