Bavarian premier urges migrant limit despite Merkel's refusal

15th December 2015, Comments 0 comments

Bavarian premier Horst Seehofer made a fresh call Tuesday for Germany to cap the number of refugees it takes in, refusing to be placated by Chancellor Angela Merkel's pledge to reduce new arrivals.

"No country on Earth takes in an unlimited number of refugees," he told the annual congress of Merkel's party the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Seehofer said he was convinced that without a limit, it would be impossible to resolve "the problem ... in an intelligent, humane and sensible manner, and in the foreseeable future".

"We favour limits," said Seehofer, who heads the CSU, the CDU's sister party in Bavaria.

The Bavarian leader, whose region has become the main gateway for hundreds of thousands of migrants arriving in Germany, has been pushing Merkel to impose a limit.

But Merkel has consistently shrugged off his demands, and on Monday said in an impassioned speech to party delegates that Germany would never seal its borders.

Instead, she united her party behind a commitment to accept those fleeing war coupled with a promise to reduce refugee numbers.

Merkel has said she is banking on a multi-pronged approach to cut refugee numbers, urging bolstered protection for the bloc's external borders, support for Turkey to host refugees long-term, and a long-shot bid for a distribution scheme among EU member states.

Seehofer said he welcomed the decision to bring down new arrivals but held fast to his demand for a numerical limit.

His region was still registering 4,000 to 5,000 new arrivals daily, he said, warning that "if this development continues, then we will have more refugees next year than this year".

Germany is expecting to record one million asylum-seeker arrivals this year.

© 2015 AFP

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