© REUTERS/Kostas Tsironis
Leader of the German Greens sparked quite a firestorm after he suggested that thousands of underage migrants be voluntarily brought into the country from Greece. Only a few were impressed by the plea for humanism.

Roughly 4,000 children, including "many girls, many fragile little people," desperately wait for relief in the Greek islands, and it's a "requirement of humanity" to "get the kids out first," Robert Habeck, the Green Party leader, exclaimed during an interview with Sunday's edition of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Now, the weekend became less tranquil after politicians - conservative and liberal - locked horns over Habeck's proposal in the media. Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) were first to lash out at the Green politician, saying Germany shouldn't do it alone.

Gerd Mueller, the development aid minister, argued that "the children can and must best be helped on the spot," while Guenter Krings, parliamentary undersecretary in the Interior Ministry, reminded Habeck that taking children unilaterally would "bypass all European legal rules."

Others feared that the other EU countries would avoid their responsibility to share incoming refugees, leaving the problem to Germany - an unattractive prospect given the heavy migrant influx that struck the country back in 2015.

But the debate turned more emotional when Horst Seehofer, the Interior Minister and a heavyweight in Bavaria's Christian Social Union - a CDU longtime ally - bluntly accused the Greens' leader of making "dishonest policy."

Seehofer recalled that he had been warning of a new "wave of refugees" for months, but the threat so far had "not been taken seriously by too many."

The Greens themselves returned the attack. Marcel Rohrlack, a young Green politician in Munich, tweeted that he hopes a German Christmas carol 'Oh, come, little children' will "get stuck in the neck of certain uber-Christians," prompting questions from conservative Twitterati if he referred to unborn babies that fell victim of abortion.

However, some in the German elite circles defended bringing the migrant children into the country. Boris Pistorius, Interior Minister of Lower Saxony, demanded"to admit these young refugees."

Germany "can no longer stand by and watch their misery" because they are at risk of abuse and assault, he told the media. The unaccompanied children began amassing on Aegean islands earlier this year, but so far, no EU country had volunteered to resettle them, despite numerous calls from Athens to ease the burden.

Under a major 2016 deal between the European Union and Turkey, all migrants crossing into Greece from the nearby Turkish coast are held in island camps pending deportation - unless they are granted asylum by Greek authorities. Consequently, conditions in overcrowded camps deteriorated rapidly, as people continued to descend onto Greek soil.

Germany itself hosted 1.4 million migrants since 2015, according to this year's figures by the UN Refugee Agency. The influx led to shrinking popularity of establishment parties, with the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany party being propelled to power on the back of the massive migrant incursion.