Monday

24th Sep 2018

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.

Salzburg summit presses for bigger Frontex mandate

Issues of sovereignty remain entrenched following a proposal by the European Commission to expand the EU's border and coast guard, also known as Frontex, to 10,000. But EU leaders maintain a "basic consensus" of support had been reached.

News in Brief

  1. ECB's Draghi set to clarify role in secretive G30 group
  2. Half of EU states at risk of missing recycling target
  3. Commission refers Poland to EU top court over rule of law
  4. Open Society Foundation takes Hungary to court
  5. EU court asked to rule on halting Brexit
  6. EU threatens Switzerland on stock trading
  7. Italy's new basic wage restricted to Italians
  8. UK tycoon offers to create pro-Brexit party

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. Missing signature gaffe for Azerbaijan gas pipeline
  2. Every major city in Europe is getting warmer
  3. No chance of meeting EU renewable goals if infrastructure neglected
  4. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  5. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia
  6. Sound of discord at 'Sound of Music' Salzburg summit
  7. Salzburg summit presses for bigger Frontex mandate
  8. UK's post-Brexit plan 'will not work', EU says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us