German conservative calls for tighter asylum rules

by Reuters
Wednesday, 9 September 2015 17:03 GMT

BERLIN, Sept 9 (Reuters) - A leading figure in Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), has called for Germany to tighten its asylum rules and says it should change the constitution to do so if necessary.

The comments from Markus Soeder, regional finance minister of the Bavarian CSU, highlight the reluctance of some in Germany to letting in so many refugees. The government has said it expects 800,000 people to seek asylum in Germany this year.

Germany's post-war Basic Law grants victims of political persecution the right of asylum. The Interior Ministry says on its website: "The fundamental right of asylum thus has high priority and expresses Germany's willingness to fulfil its historical and humanitarian obligation to admit refugees."

However, Soeder said other European Union countries were not ready to adopt the same high standards on asylum rights.

"Hence, he who aspires to a European solution for the refugee crisis must be ready to Europeanize the German standards; so, to reduce them," he wrote in an opinion piece to run in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper on Thursday.

Germany must treat fairly every person who comes to the country as a refugee, Soeder said.

"But in the interests of the cohesion of society in the country, we should do everything to significantly reduce the influx of refugees again soon," he added.

Merkel said on Wednesday Germany needed to learn from its mistakes in dealing with "Gastarbeiter", or guest workers, in the post-war period to integrate refugees and asylum seekers from the moment they arrive in the country.

(Writing by Paul Carrel, editing by Larry King)

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