Merkel ally lauds border controls, sees turning point in migrant crisis

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 04, 2016 6:42 AM

BERLIN (Reuters) - The imposition of border controls by several countries along the migrant route in the Balkans is benefiting Germany by reducing the number of people arriving in the country, Chancellor Angela Merkel's Bavarian ally said in a magazine on Friday.

"There is a turning point in the refugee policy due to the closure of large parts of the Balkan route," Horst Seehofer told Der Spiegel. "Germany is profiting from this."

Seehofer is leader of the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian-based sister party of Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union.

Austria, one of the last stops on the way to Germany for hundreds of thousands of migrants, imposed border restrictions last month, setting off a domino effect in Europe and leaving thousands stranded in Greece.

On Thursday, there were some 12,000 homeless migrants - many refugees from the war in Syria - camped in filthy conditions in muddy fields straddling the Greece border with Macedonia.

German federal police have said that migrant arrivals into Germany have fallen sharply in recent days, due mainly to bad weather and a bottleneck as border restrictions by countries further south along the migrant route kicked in.

(Reporting by Michael Nienaber Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)