Angela Merkel's political allies have increased their pressure on the chancellor to toughen up the nation's immigration and refugee laws by demanding priority be given to migrants with a Western, Christian cultural background.

"In the future, priority must be given to immigrants from our Western, Christian culture," the Bavarian-based Christian Social Union (CSU) said in a paper in the hands of dpa.

"Such a law would be a clear rejection of illegal migration," said the CSU, which is the sister party of Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

"A state must decide for itself whom it takes in, not the immigrants," said the CSU, which has also called for an annual upper limit of 200,000 to be placed on the number of refugees entering Germany and a ban on the full-face veil worn by Muslim women.

The paper, which has been prepared for a CSU meeting of the party's leaders on Friday and Saturday, described the burqa and niqab as "an Islamic uniform," saying they should be banned wherever possible in public life.

"Germany must remain Germany" the CSU declared, which echoes comments also made by Merkel.

A year ago Merkel opened her nation's borders to allow refugees stranded in Hungary to travel to Germany.

Since then about 1 million refugees, mainly fleeing wars in the Middle East and Africa, have entered Germany.

CSU chief and Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer has spearheaded criticism of Merkel's handling of the refugee crisis, with his state at the frontline of migrants entering Germany, and has called on the chancellor to impose border controls.

"Our country is open to the world, but we are opposed to it being changed through immigration or flows of refugees," the CSU said.

"Therefore, the party reaffirms its determination to anchor the existing dominant culture (as opposed to multiculturalism) in the Bavarian state constitution," the CSU.

A leading CDU lawmaker Michael Fuchs hit back at the CSU's stance saying in TV interview: "Everyone has the right to come to us if they are really refugees and if they really come from dangerous areas."

It does not matter whether someone is a Syrian from Aleppo, or Yezidi, Muslim or Christian, Fuchs said, reflecting the asylum provisions of the German constitution.

The CSU paper also called for the end of dual citizenship, along with moves to accelerate the deportation of those not entitled to asylum in Germany.

In addition, the party again demanded that Berlin set up so-called transit zones along Germany's borders to process refugees before they enter the nation.

The CSU has renewed its attack on Merkel over her liberal refugee policy after the CDU was beaten into a third place in a weekend election in the north-eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern following a surge in support for the new right-wing nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD).

The outcome of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern poll is likely to set the stage for a further setback for the CDU in the local elections in the central state of Lower Saxony and the Berlin city state also to be held this month.

Related stories

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.