As pressure mounts on German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of this year’s election, the chancellor has flat out refused to place a limit on the number of asylum seekers coming into the country.
The chancellor made her comments at a recent meeting between her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its coalition partner the Christian Social Union (CSU) of Bavaria. “I have no intention to change this position,” Merkel said. The chancellor noted the position would not change in the event of an electoral victory in the federal election later this year, Die Welt reports.
The CSU, led by Horst Seehofer, has repeatedly requested Merkel and the CDU accept a proposal that would limit the number of migrants and asylum seekers into Germany per year. The CSU has said they would like to see the number be set at around 200,000 migrants.
Ms. Merkel has persistently rejected the idea of a cap on the total number of asylum seekers and this has led to threats from Mr. Seehofer who has said that he would take the matter to the German constitutional courts for a decision. Last year, Seehofer also said the migrant cap was such a huge issue for the CSU he may even consider not campaigning with Merkel during the upcoming election.
The issue has driven a wedge between the two parties and Mr. Seehofer has actively courted and invited foreign politicians to Bavaria who are critical of Merkel’s migrant policies. The most frequent guest has been Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán who has visited Seehofer in Bavaria several times during the course of the migrant crisis.
Seehofer has also extended an invitation to U.S. President Donald J. Trump and has been one of the few German politicians to not criticise the new U.S. president’s policies.
Migrant caps have been adopted in other European Union countries. Austria legislated an annual cap of 37,500 migrants last year, and the conservative Austrian People’s Party has said that they would like to see that cap reduced even further to 17,000 per year.
The anti-mass migration Freedom Party have said they want to see the number down to zero and said there must be more focus on deporting illegal migrants and failed asylum seekers.
The Hungarian government is even stricter on asylum seekers being allowed entry. Border guards let in only a handful of migrants per day and are in the process of increasing border security to ensure even fewer migrants can sneak through illegally.