Angela Merkel has refused to link refugee-sharing to the EU budget as she embarked on her campaign to secure a fourth term as Germany’s leader.

The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia are blocking the redistribution of refugees via obligatory EU quotas, leaving Greece and Italy to bear the burden of the migration crisis.

Merkel’s opponent in the elections, the centre-left SPD party’s Martin Schulz, has called for a harder EU line, including cuts in EU funds for the migrant quota rebels.

But Merkel told the Deutschlandfunks and Phoenix radio and TV broadcasters on Monday (14 August) that “to pay ransom, that won’t work in this context.”

She made it clear that she wanted to continue negotiations instead of imposing sanctions.

She also said the disagreement on the distribution of refugees was regrettable.

“I will not let it go,” she said.

Leading with a margin of over 10 per cent in the polls six weeks ahead of the German elections on 24 September, Merkel also disagreed with her closest political ally, the leader of the conservative CSU party in Bavaria, Horst Seehofer, who has called for an upper limit to be fixed for the number of refugees that Germany can accept.

“I do not believe the upper limit is right,” Merkel told Deutschlandfunks and Phoenix.

She acknowledged there was “dissent” on the issue with her CSU sister party.

She also said that the 2015 situation, when 890,000 refugees came to Germany in one year, should not be repeated.

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