Chancellor Merkel and CSU alliance critic Seehofer in display of unity | News | DW | 03.11.2015
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Chancellor Merkel and CSU alliance critic Seehofer in display of unity

Germany's leader and her some-time ally, some-time critic Horst Seehofer have shown a united front in the refugee crisis for the first time in weeks. The move came ahead of difficult talks with SPD coalition partners.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel put on a show of unity on Tuesday by appearing alongside Horst Seehofer, her fiercest domestic critic of recent weeks.

Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) held a meeting with their Bavarian sister party, Seehofer's Christian Social Union (CSU), in an effort to bury the hatchet after Seehofer attacked Merkel's policy on Europe's refugee crisis.

Ahead of the meeting, Merkel said the two conservative parties were united in wanting to "order and steer the refugee flow, fight the causes of flight and so reduce the number of refugees."

Seehofer has been highly critical of what he sees as Merkel's welcoming stance, which he argued Bavaria bore the brunt of as it lies at Germany's border with Austria. The state is the main entry point for hundreds of thousands of refugees set to arrive in Germany by the end of the year. Seehofer complained that the federal government was leaving Bavaria to deal with the crisis on its own.

Since launching this critique, however, the CSU has appeared willing to compromise on the issue - penning a joint policy paper on new asylum regulations with the CDU over the weekend.

Seehofer also said the two parties must present a united front when meeting with coalition partners the Social Democrats (SPD) on Thursday to address asylum policy. The SPD has voiced concerns over several facets of the proposed CDU/CSU law changes- including so-called "transit zones" for accelerated deportation of migrants not eligible for refugee status.

The SPD instead referred to them as "prisons" in the deepening divide between Germany's ruling parties over how to handle the influx of refugees.

es/jm (dpa, Reuters)

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