Merkel’s bloc rules out immigration concessions before coalition talks with SPD

Senior members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc said on Thursday they would not give ground to the Social Democrats (SPD) on immigration. The two parties are preparing to launch make-or-break negotiations on forming a government. The benchmark of 180,000 to 220,000 refugees per year laid out in a coalition blueprint agreed between the parties after exploratory talks earlier this month was crucial, said Julia Kloeckner, deputy of Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU). “We don’t want more immigration and certainly not uncontrolled immigration – the Jusos [SPD youth wing] must accept that,” Kloeckner told Focus magazine. The Jusos dismisses the benchmark as being equivalent to a migrant cap and opposes a repeat of the grand coalition, Reuters said.