Merkel rejects proposal of refugee cap as coalition rift deepens

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday rejected a proposal from the leader of her Bavarian political allies that would cap the number of refugees entering Germany at 200,000 each year.

"This is not the chancellor's position," said Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert in reference to Sunday's proposal from Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer, who heads the Christian Social Union (CSU), the sister-party to Merkel's Christian Democrats.

"We are convinced that a limit on the number of refugees will not be achievable on a national level," he said, adding that the refugee crisis is a European problem that can only be tackled through EU quotas, alleviating the root causes of migration and rigorous control of the EU's outer borders.

"All this is meant to contribute to a situation where illegal migration becomes legal migration and where we reduce the number of new arrivals markedly and sustainably," Seibert said.

Seehofer 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 the borders of his southern state.

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: Mon, 04/01/2016 - 14:32

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