Wednesday

28th Jun 2017

Germany to relax migrant deportation rules

Germany is amending laws to ease the deportation of foreigners with criminal offences amid an on-going backlash over mass sexual assaults on women during New Year's Eve festivities.

The move is part of a broader effort to calm tensions following widespread allegations that mainly young men from Middle East and North African nations had organised the New Year's Eve crime spree in Cologne and elsewhere.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

On Tuesday (12 January), German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere and justice minister Heiko Maas proposed a draft law to relax deportations of asylum seekers and others convicted of crimes.

“It's a hard but correct response by the state to those who are seeking protection here, but think they can commit crimes," said De Maiziere.

He said the law significantly lowers the "hurdle for a possible deportation of foreigners who committed criminal offences in Germany".

The draft law lowers the deportation threshold of criminal offences from the current three year jail sentence to one.

Those convicted of a crime that carries a one year sentence can be deported.

Offences ranging anywhere from convictions without parole to youth sentences are included in the draft law.

The proposal is likely to sail through the German parliament after receiving backing from the social democrats in chancellor Angela Merkel's grand coalition.

Some 19 suspects in the New Year's Eve sex assaults have been identified.

But outstanding issues on how to deport people to countries who refuse them entry remain. Deporting convicts to countries where they face war, torture or death also poses problems.

Last year, up until the end of November, Germany expelled some 18,363 people. Most came from former Yugoslav states like Albania, Kosovo and Serbia.

But the secretary-general of Germany's centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, Peter Tauber, wants those figures increased to around 1,000 daily deportations.

Germany is now sending an ever increasing number of migrants back to Austria with most coming from places like Afghanistan, Algeria, and Morocco.

In December, it dispatched around 60 per day, which has since increased to 200.

Meanwhile, the New Year's Eve assaults have led to mounting criticism against Germany's open-door policy for refugees and asylum seekers and has fed into brewing far-right hostility against foreigners.

Around 20 Pakistani nationals were attacked by marauding vigilante groups earlier this week near the Cologne railway station.

And last week, the anti-immigration Pegida movement marched through the centre of Cologne with some carrying banners reading "rapefugees not welcome".

Germany welcomed over a million asylum seekers last year with many fleeing war and persecution in Syria. Around a half million have applied so far for asylum.

Merkel, for her part, has warned that the chaotic arrival of migrants has made the EU more vulnerable.

Merkel: euro and open borders 'directly linked'

German leader says single market would “suffer massively” if borders were closed, but admitted that Europe is "vulnerable" and lacks the order to receive all refugees.

Germany proposes EU petrol tax to pay for refugees

Germany's finance minister, Wolgang Schaeuble, has proposed an EU-wide petrol tax to cover the costs of the refugee crisis, while saying Europe is moving to slowly on tackling the issue.

EU failing to deliver on migration plans

Three out of 11 hotspots in place. Two hundred and seventy people out of 160,000 relocated: Last year's EU promises to limit and better manage migration flows yet to materialise.

Over 130,000 migrants missing in Germany

More than 130,000 asylum seekers have arrived at their designated housing, making 13 percent of people seeking protection in Germany unaccounted for.

Lack of eligible candidates dogs EU relocation scheme

Member states could fail to meet their refugee quotas even if they wanted to, as strict eligibility rules mean there are few candidates left in Greece and Italy. Sweden is already wondering if it will meet its pledge.

Security and defence to top EU summit

Pressure is mounting for social media platforms to remove any online content deemed to incite terrorism. Draft conclusions, seen by EUobserver, have made the issue a top priority in leaders' talks next week.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Talks Should Insist on Ending Reprisals Against Critical Voices
  2. European Free AllianceEFA Is Looking for a New Intern
  3. Malta EU 2017Conservation of Atlantic Tunas: International Measures Become EU Law
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan Statin Therapy Interfere With a Physically Active Lifestyle?
  5. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  6. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  7. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  8. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  9. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  10. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  11. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  12. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million

Latest News

  1. 'USB condoms' and migration on Estonia's EU agenda
  2. EU parliament should befriend transparency
  3. EU fines Google €2.4 bn over online shopping
  4. EU Commission could get say on Russia gas pipeline
  5. G20 is 'test run' for Trump-era climate governance
  6. Political conditions for EU funds prompt debate
  7. May defends proposal on EU citizens' rights
  8. UK visitors to pay into EU budget after Brexit