German Parties Brace for Tough Coalition Talks on Migration
The three parties exploring a possible coalition in Germany face an early test of their willingness to compromise on Thursday when they try to hammer out a common stance on deeply divisive immigration and asylum policy, Reuters reports.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is trying to patch together a tricky three-way coalition after her party suffered bruising losses in a national election three weeks ago - losses that even some of her allies blame on her refugee policies.
Germany’s demographic landscape changed overnight in 2015 with her decision, in the face of refugee flows on a scale not seen since World War Two, to open the borders to over a million migrants fleeing war in the Middle East and Africa.
While some hailed the move as a humanitarian act, it was less popular in her own conservative camp, where many blame her for the subsequent surge in the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany party, which took seats from her bloc.
Within her conservative bloc, the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) is demanding a cap on refugee numbers, rejected by Merkel as unconstitutional. To her left, the Greens oppose what they see as a populist-driven tightening of asylum rules.
With parties far apart, Christian Lindner, leader of the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) warned that talks could rapidly descend into conflict with Greens on the sensitive matter of allowing family members to join migrants in Germany.
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