Merkel faces ‘extraordinarily difficult’ coalition talks on refugees

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The third round of negotiations between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s would-be coalition partners set to focus on immigration and asylum policies will be “extraordinarily difficult,” a leading member of the Greens said on Thursday.

“Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), their Bavarian ally the Christian Social Union (CSU), the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens will engage in “extraordinarily difficult negotiations in one of the most contentious areas,’’ Claudia Roth told newsmen.

The archconservative CSU has conditioned its participation in the coalition on a cap of 200,000 on the number of migrants entering Germany each year.

Bavaria has borne the brunt of refugee arrivals via its southern border with Austria.

Both smaller parties are opposed to any such cap, arguing that it runs counter to constitutional rules on the right to asylum.

Merkel’s conservatives want to continue suspending the right to family reunions for asylum seekers who only have subsidiary protection after March 2018.

FDP leader Christian Lindner told news magazine Der Spiegel that the issue of family reunions would “absolutely” lead to a conflict with the Greens, who are strongly opposed to their suspension.

Thursday’s talks will also focus on climate and energy policy.

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