Merkel coalition contenders clash over dealing with refugees

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A political battle over controlling the number of refugees arriving in Germany has underlined the formidable task facing Chancellor Angela Merkel in forging a new coalition.

Merkel’s only coalition option at present is to form a new untested three-party alliance between her conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian-based Christian Social Union (CSU) associate party with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the environmentalist Greens.

However, the arch-conservative CSU is clashing with Merkel, the FDP and the Greens on refugees after it renewed its call for an annual upper limit of 200,000 on new arrivals following Sunday’s national election.

The issue has emerged as a flashpoint between the prospective coalition partners even before exploratory talks – let alone negotiations – to form a government have begun.



“There will be no upper limit on refugees in a coalition with us, which is the same for the CDU and the FDP,” Green Party Co-Chief, Simone Peter, said on Wednesday.

“The CSU will have to adjust its position if it wants to seriously explore Jamaica,” she said, referring to the possible new Merkel-led coalition, named after the CDU-CSU, Green and FDP’s party colours, which are the same as the Jamaican flag.

Peters comments came after a CSU leader Alexander Dobrindt told German broadcaster ZDF: “It is clear that the upper limit has to be part of a coalition agreement.”

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