Germany agrees steps on migration, no camps of any kind - SPD leader

Clay Curtis
July 8, 2018

German Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said after the meeting that there would be no transit centers, as agreed by the Merkel-led Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Seehofer-led Christian Social Union (CSU) on Monday.

Kurz, an immigration hard-liner who governs in coalition with the far right and is close to Seehofer's CSU, said the two sides agreed Germany's plans at the border would not harm Austria and that they would instead work together on stemming illegal immigration.

Merkel told reporters Thursday at a joint news conference in Berlin that she wants to protect the Europe's "humanity" when it comes to the way it treats migrants and "that is probably what separates us".

Saying he was "convinced these will be very hard talks", Horst Seehofer said Thursday "it is a problem for all of Europe and we want to negotiate with Italy and Greece" to send them back migrants who had already registered and applied for asylum in those countries, the main entry points to the EU.

German leader Angela Merkel has chided Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban over migration, saying they should not forget the issue was about people. Mr Seehofer - whose party still faces pressure from the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) in a regional election this October - has already threatened to start agitating again if the measures aren't implemented.

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Seehofer said the meeting would happen in the run-up to a meeting of European interior ministers in the Austrian city of Innsbruck on Thursday and Friday of next week. If vehicles had to detour through the Gotthard tunnel in Switzerland, Austrian officials estimate it would add €124 (£110) to the cost of each journey.

Merkel said that securing the external borders of the European Union is not the creation of a "fortress against the people, brought by the smugglers".

Many countries in Central and Eastern Europe advocate an anti-refugee and anti-immigrant policy. However, Italy - the main arrival point for most migrants from North Africa - does not yet have a bilateral deal with Germany.

"To be honest, I do not want to elaborate on this idea because we do not want to endanger it", he said, adding it was "not connected to the Austrian presidency but it might serve as an example for others". And there is only one solution: closing off of the borders, and bringing the support over there. Kurz called for the agency to have 10,000 border guards by 2020, seven years earlier than anticipated by Brussels.

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