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Merkel's ally rejects SPD plans for refugee family reunions

Europe
05.12.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Berlin (dpa) - A key leader of Angela Merkel‘s conservatives has ruled out a demand by the Social Democrats (SPD) to allow refugee family reunions, just days before an SPD congress to consider talks to form a new government under the chancellor.

"That would lead to such a massive increase in immigration that Germany‘s ability to facilitate integration would be totally overwhelmed," said Horst Seehofer, who heads the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian-based allies of Merkel‘s Christian Democrats (CDU).

Seehofer told the Bild daily on Tuesday that he rejected the SPD‘s demand that the current suspension of family reunions for refugees, which is due to expire in March 2018, should not be extended.

The centre-left SPD sees the family reunion issue as a possible theme for talks with the CDU-CSU bloc on forming a new coalition.

More than a million refugees, largely fleeing wars in the Middle East and Africa, have arrived in Germany since September 2015, when Merkel opened the nation‘s borders to refugees stranded in Hungary to avoid a humanitarian disaster. The numbers entering have declined sharply this year.

Seehofer‘s comments are likely to add to tensions in the SPD ahead of the party conference, opening Thursday, with large numbers of the rank and file rejecting a rerun of the current grand coalition under Merkel and arguing that the party should return to the opposition.

 

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