Merkel To Make 'Every Effort' To Avoid US Trade War

Frederick Owens
July 9, 2018

"We think it's unfair that Germany often accuses us of a lack of solidarity", Orban said.

German officials are laying the groundwork for the deals they will also need to reach with neighboring countries to return migrants if the plan is to have any chance of working.

"The refugees who have been registered and have applied for asylum in Italy and Greece, but reach the Austrian border will be moved to transit centers and from there back to Rome and Athens", he said.

Andrea Nahles, leader of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), and German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, also an SPD member, stressed the agreement would not involve creation of any transit centres or unilateral action by Germany.

At a press conference with his coalition partners in Vienna, Mr Kurz spoke out against Ms Merkel's "Welcome Culture" towards migrants of 2015 and said the European Union must take steps to protect its external borders against migrants.

Merkel's "grand coalition" will meet late on Thursday to discuss the plan, which also requires the consent of other European Union countries, particularly Austria and Italy, for it to work.

Mr Orban said that Hungary would refuse to take back migrants who had travelled through the country - even if they had registered in Hungary and not in Greece.

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Seehofer sought to allay concerns from Nahles' party of large migrant camps on the borders, assuring that the so-called transfer centers he wants to establish "would have no barbed wire or the like", and would be set up in existing police stations that would deal with the cases of only a handful of migrants a day. In her opinion, the unit should sign agreements with African countries to ensure legal migration.

"I understand that if you only ever talk about border security, border security, border security that people will say: you only want to seal yourselves off", she said.

A new poll conducted for broadcaster ARD showed growing frustration among Germans over the migration debate.

Annual migrant arrivals peaked in 2015 at over one million people, many of them fleeing Syria's war and therefore entitled to asylum, while others were trying to escape poverty.

Ms Merkel would have hoped she had put the crisis that threatened to bring down her government behind her when she hammered out the last-minute compromise with Horst Seehofer, her rebellious interior minister, on Monday night.

On Thursday, Seehofer is due to visit Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, while Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, another outspoken critic of Merkel's hitherto open-doors immigration policy, is due in Berlin.

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