migrants, berlin germany.jpg
Photograph: EPA/KAY NIETFELD

A proposal that would set daily quotas for the number of refugees allowed to enter Germany drew attention from across the country's political spectrum Monday, and seemed to mark a step towards a compromise between Chancellor Angela Merkel and her conservative critics.

The plan by Julia Kloeckner - a rising star in Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, which is preparing for elections - would see the creation of border centres from which refugees would enter the country according to daily quotas.

Kloeckner emphasized the proposal - dubbed Plan A2, rather than Plan B - was not out of step with the chancellor's push for a Europe-wide solution to the crisis, which has focused on redistributing migrants across the bloc, securing its outer borders and fighting the root causes of migration.

Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer - who has spearheaded criticism of Merkel's policy to keep Germany's borders open - endorsed the plan, saying there is a lot of overlap with his own policy suggestions, which include capping the number of migrants entering the country this year at 200,000.

Merkel has called that proposal a non-starter. Her view that a cap would run counter to German laws enshrining its duty to provide asylum to those fleeing war was reinforced by the country's leading migration official on Monday, who said the planned restrictions lacked a legal foundation and could only be enforced in tandem with the EU.

Sigmar Gabriel, the head of the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) - which forms part of Merkel's coalition alongside the CDU and Seehofer's Christian Social Union - dismissed Kloeckner's proposal as campaign strategy ahead of state elections, and said it was nothing more than a veiled attempt to limit arrivals.

Merkel herself remained vague as to whether the policy proposal would be adopted by her government in due course.

"Some of [Kloeckner's] suggestions are elements we know, others complement the policies of the government and there is some overlap," Merkel said through her spokesman Steffen Seibert, adding that it would not be adopted in its current form at this time.

Pressure has been building on Merkel to reverse her lax policy to keep Germany's borders open despite a refugee influx that saw 1.1 million people enter Germany in 2015.

Analysts say Kloeckner's proposal may be a strategic attempt on the part of Merkel to amend her policy position.

"In our view, the proposal is a strong attempt to find a face-saving compromise for Angela Merkel to get out of an increasingly difficult and complex situation," said Carsten Brzeski, chief economist at ING Bank.

Related stories

Latest news

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.

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.

Macedonian opposition claims right to assume government

Macedonia's opposition Social Democratic (SDSM) leader Zoran Zaev on Monday said that he expects to take over as prime minister because he has managed to build a majority in parliament.