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German opposition head Merz hails EU migration deal in Paris

The head of the opposition conservative Christian Democrats, Friedrich Merz, met French President Emmanuel Macron after EU states struck a deal to reform asylum policy.



German opposition head Friedrich Merz on Wednesday visited Paris to meet French President Emmanuel Macron.


Merz leads the conservative CDU, the main opposition to Chancellor Olaf Scholz's three-way coalition government.


He called for more work to strengthen the German-French partnership and hailed an EU deal to reform asylum policies.


He said that he and Macron agreed that "we need to do more to invigorate the spirit of German-French cooperation."


Merz thanked Macron for what he called a "very good exchange on the current situation in the world, the future of Europe, and the strengthening of our economy."


Merz speaks on immigration, rules out cooperation with AfD


The opposition leader did not want to comment on the content of a recent immigration law passed by France, but said that he saw it as a call to action for Scholz's government.


"France has made its decision, German is still waiting for a decision," Merz said.


The new legislation extends the duration of stay in France for migrants to be eligible to access welfare benefits and makes it harder for the children of immigrants to acquire French citizenship. It also makes it easier for migrants working in sectors that are affected by shortages to get a residency permit.


The bill won support from the far-right National Rally (RN), led by Marine Le Pen, who called the legislation "a great ideological victory" for the far right.


Speaking after meeting Macron, Merz ruled out the possibility of working with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).


"This will not happen in the CDU under my leadership," he said, referring to potential alliances with the AfD.


Merz argued that asylum and migration policies should be made at the EU level whenever possible.


"A lot is possible [at the EU level], as the last few hours have shown," he said.


On Wednesday, EU member states struck a deal to reform the bloc's migration policy. The agreement includes provisions for faster screening of irregular arrivals, the creation of border detention centers and faster deportation procedures after asylum requests are rejected.


It also includes a solidarity mechanism to reduce the pressure on the states receiving the largest quantity of arrivals.


Source: Dw

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