German Coalition Leaders Fail to Agree on Migrant Plan

German Coalition Leaders Fail to Agree on Migrant Plan

German Coalition Leaders Fail to Agree on Migrant Plan

The FINANCIAL -- The leaders of Chancellor Angela Merkel's fractious broad governing coalition failed to reach an agreement during a crisis meeting on November 1 on how to handle the dramatic influx of refugees and migrants into the country, according to Nasdaq.

The meeting, held on November 1 morning in the chancellery, took place against the backdrop of a simmering rebellion on the right wing of Ms. Merkel's conservative alliance of Christian Democrats, or CDU, and the Bavarian Christian Social Union, or CSU, over her open-door policy that some blame for sparking a flood of refugees into Germany.

The leaders of the three coalition parties—Ms. Merkel's CDU, their traditional ally the CSU, and the left- leaning Social Democrats—will meet again Thursday ahead of a meeting over the refugee crisis of the prime ministers of Germany's 16 states.

"There are a lot of common positions and several that still need to be clarified, as well as unresolved issues," said Steffen Seibert, the government spokesman. "Among those is the issue of 'transit zones.'"

Last week, Horst Seehofer, prime minister of Bavaria and chief of the CSU, threatened to take unilateral action to stop refugees at the border unless Ms. Merkel caves in to demands to stop the flow of refugees. He gave Ms. Merkel a deadline until Sunday's meeting.

The Bavarians want to erect what they are calling transit zones that would channel the flow of refugees into processing centers. Once there, refugees would be screened and those not considered eligible for political asylum would be deported.

But the proposal has sparked a row in the coalition with the left-leaning Social Democrats, who say such centers would be akin to erecting a group of prisons on Germany's eastern border that would be impossible to maintain and would likely be challenged in the courts.

Sigmar Gabriel, SPD leader and Germany's vice chancellor, has criticized the Bavarian proposal as unworkable, saying it would amount to housing tens of thousands of people in football stadium-like situations on the German border. Instead, the SPD wants to distribute incoming refugees to already existing processing centers around the country.

Bavaria, which borders the Czech Republic and Austria, has been on the front line as hundreds of thousands of refugees have flooded into Germany over the past few months. In September, around 170,000 refugees arrived in Bavaria, according to the state's official data. Bavarian officials say the number was likely higher in October.