Leaders of Germany’s ruling coalition parties remain divided over how to deal with the refugee crisis.
At a meeting in Berlin Chancellor Angela Merkel plus the head of her Christian Democrats’ Bavarian sister party Horst Seehofer (CSU)and Sigmar Gabriel from the Social Democrats (SPD), failed to produce a comprehensive action plan.
The main disagreement is over how and where to process asylum seekers..
“We want an agreement between the federal and the regional governments as to where entry centers should be built, “ said SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel. “We believe that instead of one large central facility such as a transit area at the border these entry centers should be set up all over the country as initial reception centres for refugees and waiting areas to carry out entry checks and registrations and to distribute from there.”
Germany is the prime destination for asylum seekers from the Middle East, North Africa and Southern Asia, who are coming in unprecedented numbers to Europe this year. The country is expected to accept over a million refugees in 2015.
With Bavaria bearing the brunt of refugees arriving in Germany an agreement was reached with Austria on Saturday to restrict the number of migrants allowed to cross the border to 50 per hour.
Bavaria’s Horst Seehofer (CSU) has turned into a fierce critic of Merkel and her policies in the past weeks. He issued a series of ultimatums demanding a tougher approach to refugees and even threatened to take the government to court only to back down at the last moment. He would prefer to see asylum requests being directly checked at the border before refugees are even allowed into the country.