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Refugee cap 'unnecessary,' says German minister

July 9, 2016

Germany's Minister of Agriculture, Christian Schmidt, has said that setting an upper limit on asylum seekers is no longer necessary. His conservative CSU party had been pushing hard for the refugee cap since last fall.

German police lead arriving migrants alongside a street to a transport facility
Image: Getty Images/J. Simon

Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt, a member of Bavaria's Christian Social Union, backed off of his party's call to set a limit on the number of refugees allowed to enter the country, the daily "Rheinische Post" reported Saturday.

"The current situation along the Bavarian border is much more relaxed than it was a few months ago," Schmidt told the paper.

Germany's Minister of Agriculture Christian Schmidt
Schmidt said the cap is not needed "due to the low migration numbers"Image: picture-alliance/dpa/F. Zahn

Setting an upper limit on the number of refugees entering the country "has become unnecessary due to the low migration numbers," Schmidt said, adding: "I hope it stays that way."

The CSU is the Bavarian sister party and coalition partner of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

The CSU has been demanding a cap on the influx of refugees since last fall. Party head Horst Seehofer called for no more than 200,000 asylum-seekers to be allowed in and threatened a constitutional challenged against Merkel's refugee policies. The chancellor has repeatedly rejected the idea of imposing a limit on the number of people allowed to apply for asylum in Germany.

Schmidt's remarks come a day after Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere's announcement that the number of refugee arrivals has plummeted in 2016. Around 222,000 asylum-seekers have entered Germany since the beginning of the year, de Maiziere said on Friday.

Over 1.1 million asylum-seekers arrived in Germany in 2015. At times, thousands of people per day crossed the border in Bavaria.

rs/sms (AFP, epd, KNA)