Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Merkel wins respite with migrant deal - but for how long?

06 November 2015, 18:06

Berlin - Chancellor Angela Merkel has won some breathing space after a deal with the fiercest domestic critics of her open-door policy to refugees, but the respite could prove temporary given the record influx to Germany.

After weeks of infighting within Merkel's coalition over the surge in newcomers, the German leader and two other party chiefs stood side-by-side late Thursday to announce an agreement to speed up the repatriation of rejected asylum seekers.

Also read: Migrants seen boosting and hurting economies - it depends where

They also agreed to set up three to five reception centres nationwide for migrants deemed to have little chance of winning asylum.

"We have reached these agreements in the spirit that we will manage this," said Merkel, flanked by Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel of the centre-left Social Democrats and Horst Seehofer of the CSU, the conservative Bavarian sister party of Merkel's CDU.

For weeks, Seehofer has been sniping at Merkel, even threatening her with unspecified consequences if she failed to limit the number of people arriving in Germany.

His southeastern region is the gateway for most migrants seeking to enter Germany, and Seehofer has repeatedly complained that local authorities are overwhelmed.

And Gabriel, who has announced his intention to challenge Merkel for the top job in 2017, had hit out at the backbiting among the conservatives.

Peace appeared to have been restored with the agreement.

Seehofer called the deal "very, very good", and said Friday his relationship with Merkel has been "cemented again".

'Stay in Germany'

However, observers and opposition parties swiftly questioned an agreement which they say is tough to implement given the sheer numbers of migrants seeking to reach Germany.

Some 758,000 have already arrived so far this year, with around one million people expected to reach Germany by the end of 2015.

Among those already counted are many migrants from the Balkans, including 67,000 from Albania and 32,000 from Kosovo, who Germany wants to send back in order to free up resources for those fleeing war.

"It is questionable if tens of thousands can be sent back in a relatively short time. That would be a real departure from the current practice of allowing even those denied asylum to stay and lead a life," said the centre-left daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung in an editorial.

Opposition parties also complained that the deal only sounds good on paper.

"People are waiting for half a year before their asylum applications can even be submitted. It is a complete mystery as to how the federal government can conclude the process within a few weeks in the special reception centres," said Robert Habeck of the ecologist Greens.

The Left Party said this is about "expelling at all cost, asylum rights are once more being curtailed".

In addition, Germany is facing pressure from its neighbours eager for Europe's top economy to take the refugee task off their shoulders.

Like Berlin, Sweden has opened its doors to refugees and is buckling under the load. In a stark message to migrants, its Migration Minister Morgan Johansson said at a press conference Thursday: "If you have a roof over your head in Germany, it'd be better if you stayed there."

Perhaps mindful that the agreement would only deal with part of the issue, barely hours after the agreement Seehofer himself said he has not buried his threat to file a legal challenge against the government over its refugee policy.

"We have prepared ourselves for several alternatives and negotiation possibilities," he told public broadcaster ARD.

At the moment, such action was not necessary given the deal with coalition partners, he said.

"But we will see if we will bring a legal challenge" later, he said.

Merkel's spokeswoman Christiane Wirtz shrugged off Seehofer's warning, saying: "The government is very unified on this issue."

News website Spiegel Online was less optimistic, saying that "it should be assumed that Seehofer will, at the next chance, switch back to fighting mode".



Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...