Merkel's allies tweak policy on priority for Christian migrants

The sister party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) has tweaked its manifesto after demands to give Christian migrants priority access to the country were met with opposition and scorn.

Following a meeting of the Christian Social Union's (CSU) top members on Saturday, the policy now appears on a different page of its paper on refugees and migration, in a bid to stress that the proposal only applies to standard migrants and not those seeking political asylum.

A wide gulf has emerged between Merkel's CDU and its traditional ally over the chancellor's open-door refugee policy, which brought 1.1 million people to the country last year.

CSU chief and Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer, whose state is at the frontline of the refugee crisis, has called on the chancellor to impose border controls.

But Vice Chancellor and Social Democrat leader Sigmar Gabriel has accused the CSU of politicizing a humanitarian crisis, showing ever-deepening cracks in Merkel's three-party coalition.

Gabriel, Merkel and Seehofer are set to meet in Berlin on Sunday, with next year's election putting pressure on the coalition to settle their differences.

Seehofer is confident that he will win over his coalition partner and critics with his demands for tougher asylum rules, claiming that Gabriel "accepts a lot of the things that he initially criticizes."

Gabriel meanwhile told the weekend edition of Berlin's Tagesspiegel that he intended to ask Seehofer on Sunday "how far this dumbing down of politics was actually going to continue."

Last update: Sat, 10/09/2016 - 18:47

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