Pressure grows on Merkel to tighten refugee policies
BERLIN — Pressure grew on Chancellor Angela Merkel from the right wing of her conservative bloc Thursday to tighten Germany’s refugee policies and allow some migrants to be turned away at the borders. It was a major challenge to her authority, echoing wider European disagreements on how to deal with the huge numbers of asylum-seekers. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has proposed turning back refugees who have already registered in other European countries, as part of a lengthy “master plan’’ to curb unauthorized immigration. He also wants to block migrants whose asylum applications in Germany have been rejected from returning to the country. His news conference to announce the details of the plan was called off Tuesday after he and Merkel couldn’t agree. On Thursday, the leader of Seehofer’s Bavarian-only Christian Social Union in parliament said the party supported him and would not back down, and suggested they might try to force through changes at a state level. That could cause a break in the longtime alliance with Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union.
“We are in a serious, a very serious situation,’’ said Alexander Dobrindt, adding that the issue would be discussed in Bavaria with party leaders on Monday.