Tuesday

23rd Jul 2019

Germany tightens asylum rules

  • Family reunifications suspended for migrants with 'subsidiary protection' status (Photo: Oxfam International)

Germany's government coalition parties agreed Thursday (28 Janaury) to tighten asylum rules in a bid to adapt the country's policy to the continued influx of migrants and growing public opposition.

The agreement between chancellor Angela Merkel's christian democrat party, the CDU, and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, as well as their social democratic partner, the SDP, includes restrictions to family reunification and aims at easing the deportation of non-refugees.

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

Under the accord, family reunification will be suspended for two years for people with a "subsidiary protection" status. This status means that a person is not given full asylum but just a one-year residence permit, even though they cannot be sent back because of the situation in their country.

The measure had been floated in November but not been implemented.

An exception will be made for people whose family is in a refugee camp in Turkey, Jordan, or Lebanon. But they will be part of an EU plan to resettle refugees from these countries in Europe, which has still to be agreed by member states.

The Green Party spokesman for home affairs, Volker Beck, said the decision was "an employment-generating measure for smugglers".

"The inventors of such roles are effectively accepting the threat of death by drowning in the Mediterranean," he was quoted as saying by the Deutsche Welle.

Merkel 'fortified'

The coalition agreement also plans to extend the list of "safe countries of origin" to Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia.

A growing number of young men from these countries have been coming to Germany, via Turkey, trying to get asylum by posing as Syrians.

Reception centres for migrants coming from "safe countries of origin" will be created in order to proceed more quickly with their asylum request.

Since people from these countries are almost never granted asylum, the aim is to be able to send them back more quickly. During their application process, they will not be allowed to travel elsewhere in Germany.


On Wednesday, the king of Morocco accepted that Moroccan illegal migrants are sent back from Germany.

"The recent flows of illegal migrants, some of them falsely claiming to be refugees, were the result of a humanitarian call ... which was widely exploited by human trafficking organisations operating on both sides of the Mediterranean," Mohammed VI said in a statement.

The deal with Morocco and the extension of the list of safe countries are also addressed at public perception, as many north Africans were among the alleged sexual aggressors in Cologne and other German cities on New Year's Eve.

"I feel fortified following the results of today," Angela Merkel said Wednesday evening. "We are getting a lot of things accomplished."

After the coalition meeting, the chancellor held talks with leaders from Germany's regions. They agreed to set up a working group to elaborate "a concept for integration" of migrants by the end of March.

The issue will be the "predominant topic" of the year, Merkel said.

German MPs sceptical of Merkel's 'European solution'

Conservative critics of the German chancellor's refugee policy feel increasingly insecure after she fails to win over member states for a European solution. Still, few believe that her stepping down would lead to a solution.

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.

Germany, Turkey want Nato help to police coast

Germany and Turkey want to stop people-smugglers in the Aegean Sea, as tens of thousands of new Syria refugees mass on Turkey's borders amid Assad's siege of Aleppo.

EU court: Denmark's family-reunification law 'unjustified'

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg has delivered a blow to Denmark's strict family-reunification laws. The ruling will likely cause headaches for its new left-leaning government given its stance on immigration, and opens up 8,000 pending cases.

News in Brief

  1. UK foreign office minister quits ahead of Johnson as PM
  2. AKK to boost Bundeswehr budget to Nato target
  3. Police arrest 25 after Polish LGBT-march attack
  4. Ukrainian president's party tops parliament election
  5. EU interior ministers to meet in Paris on migration
  6. Schinas nominated as Greek commissioner
  7. Sea-Watch captain hopes for change in EU migrant rules
  8. Russia willing to join EU payment scheme on Iran deal

EU guilty of Libya migrant 'tragedy', ICC lawsuit says

EU states' efforts to "deter" migrants from Libya have helped kill more than 14,000 people and exposed 40,000 others to "crimes against humanity", according to a lawsuit filed in The Hague on Monday.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. As Johnson set to become PM, ministers pledge to resign
  2. Poland's PiS prepares 'failsafe' for October election
  3. Abortion Wars
  4. EU goes on holiday as new UK PM arrives This WEEK
  5. Survey: Half of EU staff 'don't know' ethics rules
  6. Von der Leyen signals soft touch on migrants, rule of law
  7. Timmermans: von der Leyen will be tough on rule of law
  8. Timmermans trolls 'idiot' Brexit negotiators

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us