Merkel′s Christian Democrats to consider supporting immigration bill | News | DW | 24.07.2015

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Merkel's Christian Democrats to consider supporting immigration bill

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats are to discuss plans for a new, comprehensive immigration law in September. But many in the party are against it, arguing that current regulation is sufficient.

Germany's ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) appears to be inching closer toward writing a much-debated new immigration bill.

A party spokesman confirmed a report published in news magazine "Der Spiegel" on Friday that said the CDU would pave the way for such a bill in September and then fine-tune it at the party's convention in December.

A report published by a CDU working group at the beginning of July will serve as a basis for the discussion. That document points out that there are already "several pieces of legislation on immigration" that should be "put together in a better and non-contradictory way." Crucially, it also states that Germany is an "immigration country" for the first time ever.

In the past, members of German conservative Christian parties have said they do not see the nation as a country of immigrants, and they have struggled forming their approach to immigration despite a shortage of skilled workers in its highly developed and diversified economy.

Merkel has also dithered on the subject for some time, with other party members split on whether a new law clarifying Germany's stance on immigration and unifying current rules was indeed needed.

But in a sign that the conservatives' views are changing, Merkel said at the recent 70th anniversary celebrations of the CDU that "Germany is the second-most popular immigration destination. The CDU sometimes doesn't like to talk about it much."

She had stopped short, however, of endorsing an immigration bill, as proposed by the CDU's General Secretary Peter Tauber at the beginning of the year. Tauber met with fierce resistance from other prominent party members, including Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, who says there is no need for new regulations.

The Social Democrats, who are in coalition with the CDU, and the opposition Greens have long been in favor of an immigration law.

ng/sms (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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