German ministers warn against uncontrolled immigration

  • 10/10/2015
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Reuters)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Reuters)

Two senior German cabinet ministers have warned against uncontrolled immigration, calling for a drop in the numbers of new arrivals to the country.

"We cannot sustainably take in more than a million refugees every year and integrate them," wrote Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, according to pre-released extracts of their joint column in Der Spiegel magazine on Friday (local time).

"Despite the unprecedented readiness of the Germans to help, we must do what is possible to bring the immigration figures down again," they wrote.

Debate on the refugee issue - which has increasingly become a thorny one in Germany - should not be centred between the "We can do this" camp and the "boat is full" camp.

Otherwise, "this question of refugees risks splitting our society," warned the senior politicians, both of whom are Social Democrats in the left-right coalition.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to open her country's doors to those fleeing war has won her plaudits worldwide.

But as Germany looks set to welcome a million asylum seekers this year, an open rebellion has erupted among Merkel's allies, particularly in the conservative southern Bavaria region.

They complain they simply do not have the means to cope with the surge.