Bavarian premier calls for migration cap to be set at 200,000

The head of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Bavarian sister party has called for an annual cap of 200,000 on the number of refugees entering Germany, less than a fifth of the number that arrived in 2015, mass circulation newspaper Bild reported Sunday.

Horst Seehofer, head of Bavaria's Christian Social Union and formerly Merkel's most important ally in southern Germany, said that past experience showed that the country could successfully integrate between 100,000 and 200,000 migrants each year.

"Everything above that is too much," he told the newspaper, adding that there would be an additional 500,000 migrants both arriving from within the European Union and as a result of skilled labour migration actively pursued by Germany.

Seehofer, the most powerful politician in Bavaria, has become a thorn in Merkel's side amid intense pressure from his conservative constituents to stem the unprecedented influx of migrants, many of whom are entering the country through its southern border.

"In December, a daily average of 4,000 refugees entered Bavaria - projected on to a whole year, that would amount to 1.5 million. That is more than in 2015 and would not be manageable under any circumstances," he said.

Bavarian officials have said that 1.1 million refugees and migrants arrived in Germany over the course of 2015. The majority of the new arrivals is fleeing conflict in the Middle East.

Last update: Sun, 03/01/2016 - 12:22

More from Europe

Second group of rejected Afghan asylum seekers returns from Germany

A group of 26 Afghan asylum seekers whose requests to live in Germany were rejected arrived back in their home...

New bird flu virus type discovered in northern Germany

A new variant of bird flu has been discovered in domesticated animals in the northern German state of Schleswig-...

EU experts: Merkel has been main target of fake news

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been the main target of fake news campaigns in Europe, including disinformation...

Romanian president plans referendum to save anti-corruption law

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis wants to hold a referendum on the country's plans to ease corruption laws, he said...

Seven casualties, 22 missing at Italian avalanche-struck hotel

The death toll at an Italian hotel buried by an avalanche last week has risen to seven, while 22 guests and staff...