German Chancellor Angela Merkel has ruled out setting an upper limit on refugees coming to Germany, defying her long-term coalition partner on an issue that threatens to open up a rift between the country’s ruling political parties just two months before federal elections.
“On the issue of an upper limit, my position is clear,” Merkel said in an interview broadcast live on Germany’s ARD on Sunday. “I won’t accept one.”
More than one million migrants entered Germany last year and they are still coming.
Merkel will need the support of the Christian Social Union — the more conservative sister party to Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union — in order to remain Chancellor after September elections.
On Monday, CSU leader Horst Seehofer reiterated his party’s pledge to make the limit on refugees a reality.
“The cap is and remains a goal of the CSU,” Seehofer said, although he refused to make the issue a red line in a coalition deal — a softening of his previous stance.
In an interview in December, Horst Seehofer, head of the CSU, promised a cap of 200,000 refugees per year if his party is in a coalition government after the election.