Merkel ally warns refugee influx threatens 'emergency'

11th September 2015, Comments 0 comments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel faced sharp criticism Friday for her open-door refugee policy from her conservative Bavarian allies, who said they would discuss the influx with Hungary's right-wing leader Viktor Orban.

The head of the CSU party, Horst Seehofer, said opening German borders to unprecedented numbers of migrants "was a mistake that will occupy us for a long time".

"We are getting ourselves into an emergency situation we soon won't be able to control," he said, according to pre-released comments to be published in Saturday's edition of news weekly Der Spiegel.

"I see no possibility of putting the cork back on the bottle," he added on Merkel's decision to suspend so-called Dublin rules for Syrian refugees, which would normally require them to seek asylum in the first EU country they enter.

Seehofer, the Bavarian state premier, said he wanted to discuss the issue with Hungary's Prime Minister Orban, who has called the wave of migrants a "German problem" and is building a fence on the Serbian border to keep them out.

Orban has said he sees the asylum-seekers from mainly Muslim countries as a threat to Europe's Christian-rooted culture.

Seehofer -- usually a loyal ally of Merkel in her grand coalition government -- said he wanted Orban to join a CSU party meeting so they could jointly "search for a solution".

Bavaria is the German state where some 20,000 refugees entered Germany last weekend on more than 100 trains that passed from Hungary and through Austria.

CSU vice president Hans-Peter Friedrich earlier called Merkel's decision "an unprecedented political error" that would have "catastrophic consequences", according to the Passauer Neue Presse daily.

"We have lost control," he said, warning that it was "completely irresponsible to allow thousands of people to enter without controlling and registering them, and one can't really estimate how many IS fighters or Islamists are among them."

© 2015 AFP

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