Pressure on Merkel grows over refugees

Pressure on Merkel grows over refugees
Refugees at the Germany-Austrian border. Photo: DPA
Demands are growing for Chancellor Angela Merkel to do more to limit the number of refugees entering the country ahead of an emergency summit of coalition government leaders at the weekend.

Petitions have already been prepared within Merkel's own Union (Christian Democratic Union CDU/ Christian Social Union CSU) calling on the government to limit the number of refugees entering the country, claimed CDU politician Christian von Stetten in an interview with Handelsblatt on Friday.

“We're waiting to see what the government will do at the weekend,” he said. “Whether we support such a petition will be seen on Monday.“

Jens Spahn (CDU), state secretary for finance, also called for more measures to be implemented to restrict refugees' rights.

“We need to limit their ability to have their families follow them later,” he told Handelsblatt.

Julia Klöckner, deputy federal chairwoman of the CDU, warned about the consequences of Bavaria acting unilaterally.

“If Bavaria were to stop cooperating and just stick people on buses and put them at the door of other German states, then we'd have a totally different problem in Germany,“ she said. “Therefore I think we need the weight taken off and we need limits.“

Bavarian Minister President Horst Seehofer, who is also leader of the the CSU, has threatened unspecific consequences if Merkel does not take concrete steps to stem the flow of thousands of refugees entering Bavaria through Austria on a daily basis.

Merkel is to meet with Seehofer and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, leader of the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), to discuss the refugee crisis on Sunday.

Gabriel has accused Merkel and Seehofer of undermining the authority of the government through the increasingly bitter feud.

“The blackmail and insult throwing coming from both sides is undignified and simply irresponsible,” Gabriel told Spiegel on Friday.