BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel failed on Sunday to fully resolve differences within her ruling coalition over how to deal with the huge refugee influx, leaving open a row that has rocked her government.
Government spokesman Steffen Seibert described talks between the three party leaders as “constructive”, but said they would meet again on Thursday. German media had billed Sunday’s meeting as a crisis summit.
Germany, Europe’s biggest economy and long a magnet for migrants, expects between 800,000 and a million asylum seekers to arrive this year, twice as many as in any previous year, and far more than in any other European Union country.
The influx has opened up divisions within the coalition, with the Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) demanding tougher action that many in the third ruling party, the Social Democrats (SPD), oppose.
“There is a lot of common ground and some points that remain open and still to be settled,” Steffen said, adding that these included the idea of introducing so-called “transit zones” at border crossings to process asylum requests.
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