High-ranking member of Merkel’s CDU cuts short Greek camp visit

Armin Laschet, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives who has been mooted as a possible candidate for German chancellor, cut short his visit to Greece’s Moria refugee camp on Tuesday due to security concerns.

Laschet had planned to visit the slum-like part of the overcrowded camp on the island of Lesbos after viewing the facility’s official container accommodation.

On the advice of the local security chief, the second half of the visit was called off at the last minute.

The move came after groups of migrants from Afghanistan and Africa gathered and began chanting “free Moria.”

A heavy security presence formed a shield between Laschet and the protesting refugees.

The Moria camp, established in 2015 on a former military base, is the largest of its kind in Europe with over 14,000 residents, making it woefully overcrowded.

After his trip to Moria, Laschet visited the Kara Tepe camp on Lesbos, where 1,300 migrants are hosted in far less chaotic conditions.

Laschet is premier of North Rhine Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state. He is one of the candidates in the running to lead the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and could be the party’s top candidate in next year’s elections if he succeeds.

Merkel, whose open-door policy at the height of Europe’s refugee crisis in 2015 was a defining moment in her career, is expected to retire from politics after her current fourth term.

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