BERLIN – The latest news as tens of thousands of people fleeing war or poverty make their way across Europe. All times local.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff is downplaying a short-lived initiative by the interior minister to give many Syrians restricted asylum, insisting that the matter is settled and procedures remain unchanged.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere appeared to catch Merkel's governing coalition by surprise when he said Friday that many Syrians should get "subsidiary protection," which comes with only a one-year renewable residence permit and wouldn't allow them to bring relatives to Germany for two years. Amid criticism, he shelved the idea hours later.
Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has said the idea apparently was produced in the Interior Ministry without consultation. Merkel's chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, made clear in an interview with Deutschlandfunk radio broadcast Sunday that he hadn't been aware that the initiative had been launched.