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Merkel's possible successor says 'road to Germany' is no longer open for refugees

BERLIN, GERMANY - DECEMBER 14: Friedrich Merz, one of the three current candidates vying for the leadership post of the German Christian Democrats (CDU), attends a streamed question and answer session with CDU members at CDU headquarters during the coronavirus pandemic on December 14, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. The CDU is scheduled to elect a new leader in January. (Photo by Bernd von Jutrczenka - Pool/Getty Images)
Friedrich Merz, one of the three current candidates vying for the leadership post of the German Christian Democrats [Bernd von Jutrczenka - Pool/Getty Images]

A possible presidential candidate of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) opposed on Saturday the idea that refugees from camps in Greece or Bosnia could end up in Germany, Anadolu has reported. "The road to Germany is no longer open," insisted Friedrich Merz.

"The entire European Union is specifically obligated to assist refugees in the Balkans or on the Greek islands, but this humanitarian catastrophe cannot be solved when Germany receives everyone," Merz explained. "There is a need for Europe to conclude agreements with countries of origin or transit countries in order to prevent irregular and life-threatening migration across the Mediterranean from countries of origin."

More deportations than in previous years should take place, said the CDU leadership contender. "However, in Syria, for example, there are legal, humanitarian and real obstacles due to the lack of flights and land routes, and therefore deportation will not be possible except in individual cases."

The leader of Merkel's conservative party will be chosen during an online conference in mid-January. Members of the CDU will choose between moderate Armin Laschet, leader of the North Rhine-Westphalia; Merz, who is a liberal, historic opponent of Merkel; and Norbert Rottgen, a foreign policy expert.

It is likely that the party's elected leader will be the right wing candidate in the legislative elections scheduled for September. Merkel steps down this year after 16 years in office.

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