AMMAN, Jordan — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday visited Jordan, a major refugee host country, amid an escalating domestic conflict over migration that has shaken her coalition government.
In a town hall meeting with students at the German Jordanian University, she largely stayed clear of the migration debate, but said that a majority in Germany believe that “we must be an open country,” provided there are some controls.
At home, she is locked in a dispute with Bavaria’s Christian Social Union over the party’s demand that some migrants be turned back at Germany’s borders. It has given her two weeks to reach agreement with European partners. Leaders from a group of European Union countries, led by Germany and France, will meet Sunday to thrash out possible solutions.
Hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians, including some initially hosted by Jordan, have migrated onward to Europe, with Germany a key destination.
Meanwhile, regional host countries, such as Jordan and Lebanon, have said they are shouldering a disproportionately heavy refugee burden, but are not receiving sufficient international support.
Jordan hosts some 660,000 registered Syrian refugees, but says the actual number of displaced Syrians in the kingdom is twice as high. In Lebanon, an estimated one in four residents is a refugee.
Merkel is to meet with Jordan’s King Abdullah II later Thursday before heading to Lebanon.