Chancellor Angela Merkel has reiterated calls for other EU members to take in more migrants and refugees as her ruling coalition comes under growing pressure from the unprecedented influx entering Germany.
With talk of a million or more asylum seekers arriving on German territory this year alone, Merkel’s coalition is increasingly divided.
Making a fresh call for other EU members to do their share, the Chancellor tried to reassure those at home who believe Germany’s ‘Open Arms’ policy has gone too far.
“I am working on reducing the number of refugees,” she said in Darmstadt on Monday at a meeting of her CDU party.
“I just don’t think – and I am speaking to those who believe that we should close Germany’s border with Austria – that this will solve the problem.”
Merkel defends the idea of transit zones on the border to filter out economic migrants – a proposal being pushed by the CSU, her conservatives’ Bavarian sister party.
“We have agreed on something the meaning of which has not really yet come to light – the rejection of a multicultural society,” said Bavarian premier and CSU leader Horst Seehofer.
But whether that is the case or not, Merkel’s Social Democrat (SPD) coalition partners have dismissed the demand – putting the Chancellor under pressure as tens of thousands more migrants and refugees stream through the Balkans.
And with record numbers entering Europe by sea last month – roughly the same as for the whole of 2014 – Merkel has warned that if Germany’s border were to close the resulting bottleneck could even trigger military conflict between Balkan countries.