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Germany's Merkel to Stay Course on Migrant Issue

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a press conference after a party meeting at the headquarters of the German Christian Democratic Party in Berlin, Germany, Monday, March 14, 2016 one day after the elections in the German states of Saxony-Anhalt, Rhi

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is not planning on changing her refugee policy, despite heavy losses in recent state elections that showed conflicting opinions about her liberal approach to immigration.

On Sunday, the nationalist Alternative for Deutschland party won representation in three state polls in what many saw as a protest vote against Merkel's open-door policy on refugees.

Merkel described the loss as a "difficult day" for her conservative Christian Democrats.

Merkel has been under growing pressure to close Germany to migrants, many of them Syrians, and others fleeing war, but she has refused to impose a cap on the number of arrivals.

She is pushing, through the EU, a European-wide action that calls for distributing refugees among the EU's 28-member bloc on a proportional basis.

"Without a doubt, we have come a long way towards solving the refugee issue, but we still do not have a sustainable solution," she said. "I am fully convinced that we need a European solution and that this solution needs time."

Merkel added Germany has benefited from the closure of the Balkan migrant route north into Europe.

"Regarding the Balkan route, yes, there is no doubt that Germany, at the moment, benefits from the fact that fewer people
are coming and that also is connected to the closure of the Greek-Macedonian border," Merkel said during a news conference Monday.

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