BERLIN Dec 8 The Bavarian party allied to
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat Union (CDU)
on Thursday welcomed the CDU's tougher stance on the integration
of migrants but urged it to go further to restrict arrivals and
The CDU and Bavaria's Christian Social Union (CSU) together
form the conservative faction in the Bundestag lower house of
parliament, but the two parties are at odds over how to deal
with last year's record migrant influx to Germany of 890,000
Their rift persists as the CDU wants to improve relations
with the CSU ahead of a 2017 election and regain support lost to
the far-right, anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD).
In a hardening of her stance on migrants' integration in
Germany, Merkel this week called for a ban on full-face Muslim
veils "wherever legally possible" and the CDU passed a
resolution on tackling forced marriage and honour killings, and
cracking down on dual citizenship.
"The overall development is good," CSU leader Horst Seehofer
told German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
But Seehofer said differences remained and called for the
deportation of a "demonstrable number" of refugees. He also
reiterated his demand for a cap to be placed on the number of
migrants coming here. Merkel has rejected such a cap.
CSU member Manfred Weber, who also heads the conservative
European People's Party (EVP) in the European Parliament, told
taz newspaper the CSU would not join a coalition with the CDU
after next year's election without an agreement on such a cap.
Senior CSU member Gerda Hasselfeldt told the Funke
Mediengruppe newspaper chain the CDU had strengthened its
conservative profile and that many of its positions now
corresponded with the CSU's own.
"The party congress is a good basis on which to go
confidently into the 2017 election year together," she was
quoted as saying.
But the CDU's firmer stance attracted criticism from the
Sahra Wagenknecht, a prominent member of the far-left Linke
party, accused the CDU of simply adopting the policies of the
AfD: "Instead of finally getting on with actually dealing with
the causes of migration, they prefer to copy the AfD programme
when it comes to asylum issues," she told German news agency
Greens leader Simone Peter was also critical of what she
said was a shift to the right by the CDU on its refugee policy
and said that forcing people to choose between two nationalities
would seriously hinder integration.
(Reporting by Christian Goetz, Ralf Bode and Michelle Martin;
Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)