Germany agrees on ‘transit zones’ for refugees

German conservatives agree on setting up ‘transit zones’ for refugees

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Refugees queue in the compound outside the Berlin Office of Health and Social Affairs (LAGESO) as they wait to register in Berlin, Germany on October 12, 2015

Updated Oct 13, 2015

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and her Bavarian allies agreed on a plan to set up "transit zones" at the border for refugees who had no asylum, Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer said on Monday.

Seehofer, head of the Christian Social Union (CSU), said that the Bavarian government and federal government submitted a proposal this week. However, the Social Democrats (SDP), the junior partner in Merkel’s national coalition, expressed its hesitation.

The proposal will provide transit zones to hold refugees at the border crossings to examine refugees before they are allowed in. If a decision could not be made in a week, or asylum could not be provided at the border, refugees would still be allowed to stay.

Thomas Oppermann, head of the SPD parliamentary group, said in a statement that the plan was "impossible to implement in practice, and wrong in human terms".

Germany's new refugee coordinator Peter Altmaier, appointed by Merkel last week, also called for the set up of transit zones along the nation’s border to deal with the influx of refugees into the country.

The transition zones would help the government "to better distinguish between the people who we want to protect and will protect ... and the people who come for economic reasons," said Altmaier.

"I believe that in light of the present situation we should not rule out any possible option at this stage.”

Altmaier said that the decision will likely be made by next week.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa entered Germany, however, the entry point to Germany through Bavaria is out of capacity.

TRTWorld and agencies