Merkel settles row on migrant quotas
BERLIN - Reuters
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) reached a deal on migrant policy with her conservative Bavarian allies on Oct. 8, removing a major obstacle to pursuing talks on a coalition with other parties.
In an apparent concession, Merkel agreed to put a number on how many people Germany would accept per year on humanitarian grounds, around 200,000 people.
The CDU and Christian Social Union (CSU) reached the migrant deal after about seven hours of talks and later adjourned their meeting.
Merkel wants to build a coalition between her conservative bloc and two other parties, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens, which are far apart on issues from tax and energy to Europe.
First she must get her own house in order and overcome some major differences between her CDU and the CSU, its sister party in Bavaria, a state that accounts for 15 percent of Germany's population.
Under the compromise brokered on Oct. 8, Germany would accept a net of about 200,000 people a year on humanitarian grounds, including families of refugees already in Germany.
"We want to achieve a total number of people taken in for humanitarian reasons [refugees and asylum seekers, those entitled to subsidiary protection, family members, relocation and resettlement minus deportations and voluntary departures of future refugees] that does not exceed 200,000 people a year," states the agreement.
The leaders also agreed they wanted to set up centres where asylum seekers would stay until decisions on their applications were made.
They also agreed to declare Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia as countries of safe origin, meaning Germany can return rejected asylum seekers there more easily.