Berlin (dpa) - The intention of the federal government to take in additional refugees from five Greek islands after the fire disaster in Moria in 1553 has met with criticism from the opposition.
The German Association of Cities, however, welcomed the understanding.
Meanwhile, a fire broke out on Tuesday evening near a refugee camp on the island of Samos.
But the camp itself was not in danger.
The devastating fire in the Moria refugee camp on Lesbos left more than 12,000 migrants homeless and sparked a debate, especially in Germany, about accepting people from there.
The Union and the SPD agreed on Tuesday to accept 1,553 refugees from five Greek islands.
These are 408 families with children who have already been recognized as vulnerable in Greece.
In the evening, Merkel spoke to the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on the phone about what it said in brief communications from government spokesman Steffen Seibert and the office of the Greek prime minister.
The admission is a second step after Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) announced on Friday that Germany would accept up to 150 young people from a total of 400 unaccompanied minors.
The 400 minors are to be distributed to European countries.
In a third step, according to the federal government, additional people should be admitted if there are agreements with other European countries.
Both Merkel and Seehofer had campaigned for the new compromise in the Union parliamentary group on Tuesday.
At the height of the refugee crisis since 2015, Merkel and the then CSU boss Seehofer had bitter arguments about the direction of migration policy.
Now both quickly agreed.
"After a very short time it was clear that we had no dissent, not even the slightest dissent," emphasized Seehofer on Tuesday evening in Berlin.
The Union faction stood behind the plans.
There were some critical voices who warned against a German going it alone, it said on Tuesday evening from participants.
The German Association of Cities welcomed the compromise in the coalition.
“I am glad that after the fire in Moria, Germany decided to go boldly alone.
It would have been a mistake to wait for the long-stalled reform of the European asylum system, ”said City Council President Burkhard Jung to the newspapers of the Funke media group (Wednesday).
But this reform must finally succeed, warned the Mayor of Leipzig.
Jung assumed that the refugees would be distributed among the federal states according to the so-called Königstein key, taking into account the size of the population and tax revenue.
"Subsequently, the cities that have declared their willingness to accept should be given particular consideration."
The agreement of the coalition does not go far enough for the Greens and Left Party.
In a paper by prominent Green politicians from the Bundestag and the European Parliament that was distributed on Tuesday evening, the German offer was described as “completely unsatisfactory”.
It is far below what federal states and municipalities can provide in terms of accommodation.
All refugees from Moria must now be quickly evacuated from the island of Lesbos and distributed to European countries.
The Greens reject the reconstruction of closed camps.
The parliamentary manager of the left-wing parliamentary group, Jan Korte, told the editorial network Germany (Wednesday): «1500 are of course better than nothing.
But that is still unacceptable for one of the richest countries in the European Union. "
Criticism of the understanding in the coalition also comes from the FDP.
Parliamentary group Vice Stephan Thomae called the federal government's figures “out of thin air”.
In the “Augsburger Allgemeine” (Wednesday), Thomae called for emergency aid based on objective criteria instead of given figures.
"Unaccompanied minor refugees under 14 as well as sick people and their families must be evacuated immediately to Germany and other EU member states," said Thomae.
The CDU interior expert Armin Schuster defended the compromise with which the Union was consistently continuing "its path of a balance between humanity and order".
"The priority for the Union is that a situation like 2015 must not repeat itself and that we do not offend our European partners," he told the editorial network Germany (RND / Wednesday).
Seehofer had spoken of a “responsible solution” that “ensures that 2015 will not be repeated.”
The Parliamentary Interior Secretary Stephan Mayer (CSU) described the intention to take in more than 1,500 migrants as a "proposal to the Greek government".
At the same time, one continues to advertise “at all levels and with full conviction for other willing people within the EU”, Mayer told the “Passauer Neue Presse” (Wednesday).
A fire broke out in the evening above the Vathy refugee camp on the Greek island of Samos.
The wind drove it away from the camp up the mountain and was halfway under control late in the evening, as reported by the island's online portal "Samos Today".
The camp is not in danger, said Mayor Giorgos Stantzos the radio station Thema 104.6.
There were also the first arrests on suspicion of arson.
According to the Greek Ministry of Migration, around 4,600 migrants live in the Vathy refugee camp on Samos, but the camp only has space for around 650 people.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200916-99-579950 / 2