Germany Fails to Resolve Refugee Rift

Germany Fails to Resolve Refugee RiftGermany Fails to Resolve Refugee Rift

Germany’s ruling coalition failed at crunch talks Sunday to resolve major differences over the country’s refugee policy as it braces for the biggest influx since World War II.

The spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Steffen Seibert, said after two rounds of weekend negotiations among party leaders that meetings would continue this week, AFP reported.

“The three leaders of the coalition parties held constructive talks on all aspects of the refugee situation and will gather again on Thursday ahead of a conference of German state leaders,” Seibert said in a statement.

“They agree on several points, as well as on several points that still need to be resolved including the issue of ‘transit zones’,” he said, referring to a proposal to create airport-style processing points on Germany’s borders to allow would-be refugees who do not fulfill asylum criteria to be moved out quickly.

Merkel called the emergency talks after her Bavarian ally, Horst Seehofer of the Christian Social Union Party, threatened her with unspecified consequences if she did not take action to limit the number of newcomers arriving into Germany by Sunday. The vast majority of the up to one million people arriving in the country this year are crossing the border from Austria into Bavaria.

While most Germans initially backed Merkel’s open-doors policy for those fleeing war and persecution, a growing backlash has piled pressure on the chancellor and exposed rifts within her conservative bloc.

Merkel, who will mark a decade in power this month, has governed since 2013 in a left-right “grand coalition” with her Christian Union alliance and the Social Democrats.