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Germany: Merkel agrees to 200,000 refugees cap in bid to build coalition

Germany: Merkel agrees to 200,000 refugees cap in bid to build coalition

THE GUARDIAN – KATE CONNOLLY

Angela Merkel has agreed to cap the number of refugees Germany accepts at 200,000 annually in a concession to her conservative Bavarian allies that has overcome the first hurdle to coalition talks with other parties.

The Christian Social Union (CSU), sister party to the German chancellor’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has long pushed for a ceiling on the number of refugees but Merkel had resisted such a position.

In an apparent face-saving measure after 10 hours of talks in Berlin, both parties agreed to not refer to the policy as an “upper limit” or obergrenze, as the CSU had wished, but opted for a softer formulation, stating that “the total number of the intake based on humanitarian reasons … shall not exceed 200,000 a year”.

The parties also agreed the figure could be altered, in line with Merkel’s insistence that Germany must be able to react to international developments. In the case of a new refugee crisis, the government and the Bundestag could revise the figure upwards or reduce it.

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