BERLIN, Jan 29 : Germany moved to tighten its asylum laws to slow a record migrant influx as Chancellor Angela Merkel sought to bridge deep European rifts over the crisis in talks with Italy's Matteo Renzi on Friday.
Late Thursday, Merkel's coalition government, after months of wrangling, hammered out a deal to limit numbers by blocking some migrant family reunifications and declaring three North African nations "safe countries of origin."
The agreement means citizens of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia will have little chance of gaining political asylum, echoing steps Germany took for several Balkans countries last year.
Germany will also block family reunifications for two years for rejected asylum seekers who can't be deported because they face the threat of torture or the death penalty in their own country.
Merkel's cabinet should sign off on the measures next week before parliament passes them into law, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Friday.
After a decade in power, Merkel has come under fierce pressure to reverse her open-arms migrant policy, with emotions heightened after a rash of sex assaults in Cologne on New Year's Eve police blamed on North Africans.
Merkel has seen her long-stellar poll ratings slide ahead of three state elections in March. A poll published Friday by news weekly Focus found that 40 percent of respondents want Merkel to resign.
Meanwhile, Unknown assailants hurled a hand grenade at a shelter for asylum seekers in southern Germany on Friday but the device did not explode and no one was injured, police said.
The grenade was filled with explosives but it was not immediately clear whether it was equipped with a detonator, a police spokesman in the town of Villingen-Schwenningen said in a statement. ?AFP