Merkel to limit number of asylum seekers in Germany
Photo credit: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/
TMP – 23/10/2017
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has agreed to reduce the country’s intake of asylum seekers to 200,000 a year. The Chancellor arrived at the agreement after hours of talks between her party and the Christian Social Union on 8 October, amidst efforts to form a government after losing seats to the far right in elections last month.
The Chancellor had long rejected Christian Social Union leader Horst Seehofer’s demand for an “upper limit” of 200,000 asylum seekers a year. German media are speculating that the new deal with the Christian Social Union may be attributed to her bid to unite with other more conservative parties ahead of tough coalition talks.
“We reached a compromise that I consider to be a very good basis to begin discussions with the Free Democrats and the Greens,” Merkel told reporters in Berlin.
“Germany needs a stable government and the prerequisite for this was a common negotiating position,” she added.
The joint position paper between the two parties reads: “We will continue our efforts to reduce, sustainably and permanently, the number of people who flee to Germany and Europe, so that a situation like that of 2015 will not and cannot be repeated.”
Merkel’s 2015 open migration policy has brought in over 1.3 million refugees since 2015, igniting a divisive national debate about immigration and integration.
The agreement stipulates that the 200,000 cap can fluctuate depending on certain circumstances. The figure refers only to controlled admissions, such as refugees resettled as part of EU programmes.
The agreement also specifies that the flow of asylum seekers not included in this group could be reduced by fighting traffickers, ramping up protection of the EU’s outside borders and continuing to refuse those with temporary asylum status from bringing members of their families to join them.
According to the agreement, while the 200,000 limit refers to migrants who arrived in Germany via legal means such as family or spousal reunion, asylum seekers will not be deported before their cases are assessed, in line with the German constitution.