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CSU's Seehofer stresses need for migrant cap

December 24, 2016

Horst Seehofer, leader of Bavaria's CSU, has ruled out governing with Angela Merkel's CDU should they refuse to introduce an upper limit on the number of migrants entering Germany. The chancellor rejects the demands.

Deutschland Flüchtlinge kommen an der ZAA in Berlin an
Image: Getty Images/S. Gallup

In the event of a conservative win in Germany's federal election next year, Horst Seehofer told German weekly "Welt am Sonntag" that the Bavarian CSU would only rule with its sister party, the Christian Democrats (CDU), if an upper limit on the number of asylum seekers was implemented.

Arguments that fewer refugees arrived in Germany this year compared to 2015, are also unlikely to sway the CSU leader. "The present is not a guarantee for the future," Seehofer insisted.

"An upper limit on immigration is the prerequisite for integration and security. That is also why we are in favor of a limit of 200,000 refugees a year," he said.

German Chancellor and leader of the CDU, Angela Merkel, has repeatedly rejected demands for an upper limit, however.

With the majority of refugees in Bavaria now Africans, Seehofer also called for agreements with North African countries to enable the southern German state to return asylum seekers to their country of origin.

"Everything must be done to come to such agreements," the Bavarian state premier said.

Angela Merkel and Horst Seehofer
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and CSU leader Horst SeehoferImage: Getty Images/S. Gallup

SPD shuffles right

Transit centers at national borders are also on the CSU's agenda, with the party leader calling for "policemen, doctors, interpreters and judges who can decide in a short time who can and cannot stay."

To date, the Social Democrats (SPD) - the CDU's junior coalition partner - have opposed such transit centers. Speaking to "Welt am Sonntag," however, SPD parliamentary spokesman, Burkhard Lischka took a step toward the conservative CDU/CSU.

"We need to clarify who enters Germany," he told the Sunday newspaper. "If there is doubt about an immigrant's identity, they should remain in special primary care facilities until clarification."

Small agreement

Over the past year, the issue of a cap on the number of refugees arriving in Germany has proved to be one of huge contention for the CDU and CSU, leading to months of pot-shots at the chancellor over her open-door refugee policy.

The Bavarian state premier welcomed the CDU's decision earlier this month, however, to only allow dual nationality under exceptional circumstances as part of its mandate for the 2017 election. Although Merkel and other leading CDU figures voiced their displeasure about the result, Seehofer said they "cannot ignore the party convention."

Under the bill, children born in Germany to migrant parents could only keep either their German nationality or that of their parents.

ksb/rc (Reuters, dpa)