With a comprehensive package of measures and sharp demarcation from his coalition partner, SPD leader sigmar gabriel has put the union under pressure ahead of the crisis summit on asylum policy.
After a meeting of the party leadership, gabriel proposed on saturday the establishment of decentralized registration and entry centers for refugees. Vice chancellor rejects CDU and CSU’s preferred “transit zones” for asylum seekers near borders. Rough skepticism on constitutional grounds dear gabriel on the union’s desired limitation of family reunification.
Union leaders met this evening in the chancellor’s office to prepare for a meeting with gabriel on sunday morning. The CDU and CSU were also allowed to try to defuse the dispute between chancellor angela merkel (CDU) and CSU leader horst seehofer. Bavaria’s minister-president considers the chancellor’s course in refugee policy to be wrong and calls for a rapid limitation of refugee numbers at the border. According to reports, union faction leader volker kauder (CDU), CSU state group leader gerda hasselfeldt and refugee coordinator and head of the chancellor’s office peter altmaier (CDU) also took part in the meeting.
Gabriel said transit zones as “huge detention zones are neither organizationally feasible nor legally presentable”. The SPD concept is “a much more intelligent alternative proposal”. The goal is a better, more controlled and more orderly procedure for the entry and registration of asylum seekers. Refugees who refuse to go through the registration process would receive fewer benefits and suffer significant disadvantages in the asylum process. “The preservation of benefits is tied to this registration in entry centers,” gabriel emphasized.
Before the crisis meeting of coalition leaders on sunday, CDU politicians urged constructive solutions. CDU vice-chairman armin laschet told the newspaper “die welt”: “in this matter and for the union, it would be good if this dispute were to be brought to an end and people really started working on problem solutions again.”His colleague in office julia klockner said in the ARD: “we can”t afford not to find any solutions.”CDU secretary general peter tauber reminded the “frankfurter allgemeine sonntagszeitung” that the CDU and CSU are always particularly successful “when people have the feeling that we are working together to solve problems”.
Gabriel emphasized that he – thus close to merkel in terms of content – does not think much of isolation: "around europe, around germany, there are no train bridges."Regarding the plans for transit zones, the SPD leader said: "to be honest, no one has yet explained to me which soccer stadium they want to relocate for this purpose. These are half-baked proposals."Meanwhile, entry centers in all regions of germany could be operated by the federal government and the lander in already existing first reception facilities and waiting zones.
Gabriel also saw differences over the suspension of family reunification proposed by the CDU and CSU: "my advice is that we put forward proposals that we can also implement without conflict with the german constitutional court." One should look at what the federal constitutional court had to say about it. "There is no point in making new proposals every day, but it would be good if we implemented what we have agreed on" – buffer areas for municipalities overburdened with asylum seekers, already agreed upon turnstiles, of which nothing has been seen yet, as well as the 40,000 places in initial reception facilities planned by the federal government.
Regarding the dispute in the grand coalition over asylum policy and seehofer"s attacks on merkel, gabriel said it was "not wise" to make ultimatums and threats on such difficult issues. "You have to make sure that a government deals with each other in a reasonable way."
The rush of refugees at the bavarian border was also very high on the weekend. Thousands of refugees continued to travel the "balkan route" through croatia, slovenia and austria towards germany.
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