Germany is reaching the limit of its capacity to help the flood of migrants into Europe, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said.
The country has become a magnet for people fleeing war and violence in the Middle East.
It expects 800,000 to a million refugees and migrants to arrive this year, twice as many as in any prior year.
“We need to send a clear message to the world: we are very much prepared to help, we’ve shown that we are, but our possibilities are also limited,” Reuters quoted Schaeuble as saying in an interview with ARD television.
He called for restrictions on family reunions for Syrian refugees.
The pace and scale of the influx has put pressure on local communities and opened a rift among the ruling coalition parties over the best way to handle the crisis.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said in future Syrian refugees would receive modified refugee status and be barred from having family members join them, a statement he later retracted.
The Social Democrats, who share power with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, rejected the proposal.
Schaueble, however, spoke out in favor of the measure and said it was a proposal that the government was examining in detail.
“I think it’s a necessary decision and I’m very much in favor that we agree on this in the coalition,” he said.
The latest row comes after the coalition ended weeks of infighting on Thursday evening on how to speed up the deportation of asylum seekers who have little chance of being allowed to stay.
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