Sunday

9th Dec 2018

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

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.

EUobserved

EU Commission spins half-truth on 'unsafe' refugee boats

The European Commission claims sea crossings from Libya are more dangerous because smugglers are using less seaworthy boats. But it fails to explain why that is - an omission of their own policies of boat capture and seizure.

EU Commission floats 'Plan B' on blocked asylum reform

The European Commission wants EU states to voluntarily accept rescued asylum seekers - in a plan that would then phase out when the stalled reforms on the 'Dublin' regulation, which imposes relocation, are sorted.

News in Brief

  1. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer wins CDU leadership election
  2. Huawei hits back at EU commissioner warning
  3. EU digital commissioner 'worried' on Huawei situation
  4. EU adopts controversial definition of 'antisemitism'
  5. France braces for weekend riots
  6. Italy's 'Salvini decree' renders migrants homeless
  7. Latvia rejects UN migrant pact
  8. EU's new 10,000 border guard force may not be 'feasible'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. Merkel loyalist AKK wins CDU leadership battle
  2. Brexit vote and Merkel's successor top This Week
  3. Brexit, migration, cities - and the UN pact
  4. EU Commission spins half-truth on 'unsafe' refugee boats
  5. COP24 Nordic Pavilion: sharing climate solutions with the world
  6. From Malta to Poland: each EU state to have AI strategy
  7. Hungary and Poland: EU capitals of homophobia
  8. Austerity did not help Italy - maybe spending will?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us