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Germany's Merkel says migration deal is no about-turn

Germany's Merkel says migration deal is no about-turn
German Chancellor Angela Merkel leaves the studios of German public television station ARD on Wednesday in Berlin after having recorded an interview to be broadcast later in the day. (Omer Messinger / AFP / Getty Images)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is rejecting suggestions that an agreement to set up “transit centers” on the border with Austria, from which some asylum seekers would be returned to other European countries, marks a turnaround in her migration policy.

The agreement among Merkel’s conservative bloc hinges on other countries taking back migrants they’ve previously registered, as well as on the chancellor’s center-left coalition partners. Merkel said people would be kept in the new centers for 48 hours at most.

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Merkel refused to close Germany’s borders as the migrant influx peaked in 2015 but has since significantly toughened her stance. She backed a wider but later-aborted proposal for border facilities over two years ago.

Asked by ARD television Wednesday whether she has now become a “sealing-off chancellor,” Merkel replied: “No. A clear no.”

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