21:26 GMT10 April 2021
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    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing tough talks Thursday with leaders of the country's federal states as she tries to deal with the refugee crisis amid criticism from European Council President Donald Tusk.

    Merkel is meeting the heads of the German federal states Thursday with the refugee crisis high on the agenda. She is facing criticism for not putting a cap on the number of refugees Germany is prepared to take in.

    The German chancellor is already under enormous pressure after political fallouts within her own coalition government. The leader of the CSU Party — allied to her own CDU Party — Horst Seehofer expressed anger over Merkel's refugee policy after his state — Bavaria — became overwhelmed with the numbers arriving from Austria. He called for a cap on the total number and for border controls.

    'It's Not About One Leader'

    Tusk told a number of European newspapers Thursday that Merkel's open-door policy on refugees was "dangerous". He called for a huge overhaul of Europe's external borders. In a clear reference to the German chancellor, he said:

    "Some [European leaders] said that this wave of migrants is too big to stop. I'm absolutely sure that we have to say that this wave of migrants is too big not to stop them. But this change of approach must be a common effort. It's not about one leader."

    Meanwhile, her plans to set up transit zones came in for criticism from the other coalition party, the SPD, which said the proposed transit camps would be akin to concentration camps. In the end she backed down on transit camps and proposed alternative reception centers and promised to speed up the processing of refugees and the deportation of those refused asylum.

    Her proposals included a policy of fast-tracking asylum decisions so that those not eligible could be quickly deported. However, critics — including those in her own coalition — questioned how it was possible to fast-track asylum decisions.

    However, she admitted her plans would be postponed for "procedural reasons" until early 2016. 

    "But I remain optimistic that we'll get a solution once we've discussed all the details," she told a news conference.

    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)


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    refugee crisis, asylum seekers, meeting, criticism, migrants, Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU), European Union, Horst Seehofer, Angela Merkel, Donald Tusk, Germany, Europe, Bavaria
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