angela merkel - bolja.jpg
Photograph: EPA/MICHAEL KAPPELER

German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her opposition to limiting the number of migrants and refugees allowed to enter the country, as she sought to settle tensions within her bloc at a key coalition partners' party conference on Wednesday.

The chancellor has repeatedly butted heads with the Christian Social Union's leader, Horst Seehofer, over his proposal to allow a maximum of 200,000 migrants to enter Germany this year. That's less than one-fifth the number that arrived last year.

"There are many varying positions. This probably will not change in today's discussion," Merkel said at the annual CSU conference in the southern Bavarian resort of Wildbad Kreuth.

While stressing that she too wants to see a "tangible reduction" in the number of arrivals, the chancellor stopped short of supporting the CSU's proposed cap.

CSU members also called for a policy of sending back refugees who arrive at the border without valid papers. But according to people who participated in the closed-door session, Merkel requested more time, saying there had not yet been enough attempts to limit the influx of refugees by other means.

Seehofer and other members of his arch-conservative party have insisted a maximum of 200,000 is necessary to alleviate the burden on the public purse and ensure successful integration. An average of 3,000 refugees arrive in Germany every day, Seehofer said prior to the meeting.

The Bavarian state leader called his meeting with Merkel a "collegial conversation," adding that his party would continue pursuing its goal to limit the number of refugees allowed in.

"It could not be expected that we suddenly reach full consensus now in one or two hours here in Kreuth," Seehofer said.

Authorities and infrastructure in the state of Bavaria, where the CSU is based, have been particularly hard-hit by the mass migration influx, with the vast majority of the 1.1 million refugees recorded in 2015 entering Germany through the state's southern border.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is also set to attend the conference on Wednesday evening. His Conservatives and the CSU have a common interest in reforming the relationship between the European Union and its member states.

On the prospect of a so-called Brexit, Merkel said she expected decisions to be made in Germany's interest that would offer Britain "a sensible package" in order to keep it in the union. She did not give details of exact measures.

Cameron has promised to renegotiate the terms of Britain's EU membership before holding an in-out referendum by the end of 2017.

Latest news

SpaceX plans to fly two passengers around moon, NASA involved

SpaceX is planning to fly two private citizens around the moon next year, the first manned trip to the Earth's only natural satellite in more than four decades, the private company said Monday.

Key congressman has 'no evidence' of Trump contacts with Russia

The chairman of the US House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee said he is not aware of any evidence of improper contacts between Russian officials and Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

Gambia's new President Barrow fires army chief

Gambia's new President Adama Barrow has sacked army chief Ousman Badjie, replacing him with a presidential military aide.

Star investor Buffett takes a bigger bite of Apple, doubling shares

Stock market guru Warren Buffett on Monday revealed that his investment firm Berkshire Hathaway doubled its share of iPhone producer Apple stocks last month.

Minister: Erdogan not welcome in Austria for referendum campaign

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan should not come to Austria to campaign to Turkish citizens living there ahead of a constitutional reform referendum in his country, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said Monday.

Migrant group: Britain hits 'new low' by deporting grandmother

Britain has hit a "new low" by deporting a grandmother from north-eastern England to Singapore, a migrants' rights group said on Monday.

Turkish judge remands German reporter in custody

A Turkish judge remanded German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel in custody Monday, according to newspaper Die Welt, sparking strong condemnation from the German government and rights organizations.

1.4 million people without water after deadly floods in Chile

More than 1.4 million people were without drinking water in the Chilean capital of Santiago on Monday following catastrophic flooding that left at least three people dead.

Serbia PM says no snap parliamentary election

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on Monday that an early parliamentary election would not be held simultaneously with a presidential vote, although the state leadership had announced such a possibility.  

Trump touts 'security budget' with 10-per-cent defence spending hike

US President Donald Trump says he will present a "public security and national security budget" that hikes military spending by 54 billion dollars or about 10 per cent.

National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen fined for Roma comments

The founder of France's far-right National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen, had a 5,000-euro (5,300-dollar) fine for inciting racial hatred and discrimination confirmed on appeal on Monday.

Croatia-Montenegro relations example for region, says minister

After meeting Croatian Ambassador Veselko Grubisic in Podgorica on Monday, Montenegrin Defence Minister Predrag Boskovic said that relations between Croatia and Montenegro were very good and could serve as an example to other countries in the region.

Over 31,000 South Sudanese flee fighting and hunger to Sudan

Fleeing escalating fighting and famine in South Sudan, over 31,000 people have arrived in neighbouring Sudan so far this year, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said Monday.

SDP urges gov't to pull statement making radical turn in human rights

The opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) on Monday called on the government to take a position on the Croatian foreign policy's turn in human rights, which it said was initiated by Foreign Minister Davor Ivo Stier, and to withdraw a Foreign Ministry statement on that sent to Brussels.

Police says photoshopped photo of Milanka Opacic motivated by hate

An investigation has proved that a photograph showing Parliament Deputy Speaker Milanka Opacic wearing a shirt with four Cyrillic letters "S" (standing for "only unity saves the Serb", a popular motto and slogan in Serbia and among Serb nationalists) is a photomontage and the police suspect that publishing and distributing the said photo has been motivated by hate and intolerance.

Finance Ministry says didn't analyse HEP's readiness for IPO

The Ministry of Finance on Monday announced that it had not analysed the justification or the readiness of power provider Hrvatska Elektroprivreda (HEP) for an initial public offering with regard to a possible acquisition of Hungarian energy company MOL's stake in Croatia's INA.

Berlin confirms murder of German hostage in the Philippines

Berlin confirmed on Monday the murder of a German hostage by the militant Islamist group Abu Sayyaf in the southern Philippines with Chancellor Angela Merkel condemning the killing as "barbaric" and "abominable".

Syrian refugees arrive in Italy with help from Christian groups

A group of 50 Syrian refugees, more than half of them children, landed in Italy early Monday, entering the country on humanitarian visas obtained with the help of a lay Catholic NGO, Protestant organizations and the Italian government.