- The German chancellor agreed measures to speed up deportation
- An estimated 450,000 rejected migrants are set to be sent home
- Scheme includes £76million of cash incentives to leave voluntarily
Angela Merkel will offer cash handouts worth millions of pounds for migrants to leave Germany in an effort to silence criticism of her ‘open-door’ border policy.
In a highly-embarrassing U-turn over the ill-fated plan, which saw 1.2million migrants flock to the country, Mrs Merkel has now vowed to send many of them home.
The German chancellor agreed a package of measures to speed up the deportation process for an estimated 450,000 migrants who have been rejected asylum.
Angela Merkel will offer cash handouts worth millions of pounds for migrants to leave Germany in an effort to silence criticism of her ‘open-door’ border policy
The plan includes a £76million scheme that will offer migrants cash incentives to leave Germany voluntarily
The controversial plan, which marks a significant toughening of previous proposals, includes a £76million scheme that will offer migrants cash incentives to leave Germany voluntarily.
Many will see the move as a desperate attempt for Miss Merkel to claw back support ahead of her challenging re-election bid in September.
Criticism of her decision to leave Germany’s borders open and welcome all refugees during Europe’s migration crisis in 2015 has led to a surge in support for anti-immigrant parties.
Criticism of Angela Merkel's decision to leave Germany’s borders open and welcome all refugees during Europe’s migration crisis in 2015 has led to a surge in support for anti-immigrant parties
The proposed crackdown, which has been criticised by human rights groups, will also include the creation of a department in Berlin to co-ordinate mass deportations
Flaws in the open borders system were highlighted in the aftermath of last year’s Christmas market attack in Berlin when it was revealed that Tunisian terrorist Anis Amri had been denied asylum months earlier.
The plans agreed by Miss Merkel will allow officials to analyse asylum seekers’ telephones in an attempt to verify their identity, while rules for detaining migrants will be widened.
The proposed crackdown, which has been criticised by human rights groups, will also include the creation of a department in Berlin to co-ordinate mass deportations.
The German chancellor agreed a package of measures to speed up the deportation process for an estimated 450,000 migrants who have been rejected asylum
As part of the 16-point plan, a number of ‘federal departure centres’ will also be established near airports to hold migrants before they are deported.
Miss Merkel admitted that relying solely on migrants putting themselves forward for deportation would fail to tackle the huge backlog of rejected requests.
‘We rely heavily on voluntary departures, but we know that voluntary departures will not take place if people know that there is never a mandatory return to their home country,’ she said.
The deal was agreed with Germany’s 16 regional governors, who are largely responsible for orchestrating deportations.
Current measures have left officials struggling to deport those whose asylum requests are rejected, largely because they come from areas deemed to be safe, unlike war-torn countries such as Syria.
Of the 170,000 applications that were rejected last year, 55,000 decided to leave voluntarily and a further 26,000 were repatriated.
Former Brussels chief Martin Schulz is understood to support the deportation measures
Officials believe that the total number of failed asylum seekers could reach 450,000 by the end of the year if the proposed measures are not pushed through.
While unlikely to fall foul of EU laws, the measures will trouble officials in Brussels who expressed concerns this week that some member states were turning their backs on migrants.
CONTROVERSIAL NEW MIGRANT PLANS FOR HUNGARY
Hungary yesterday announced highly-controversial proposals to detain all migrants in container camps until there asylum claims are settled.
The country, which has constructed a wall along its border as part of a tough stance on those seeking entry to the country, said new rules would migrants without documents automatically deported.
Human rights groups described the plan for mass detention as a ‘new low’.
In a further departure, Germany also looked headed for another collision with the EU after announcing plans to cut child benefits for EU migrants yesterday.
It wants to follow concessions previously won by the UK to cut its large bill for children who reside in their home country but whose parents work in the Germany, saving around £136million per year.
A shock poll last week revealed that Miss Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party had fallen behind in the polls for the first time in seven years.
Former Brussels chief Martin Schulz, whose re-energsed Social Democrats will be Miss Merkel’s main rivals in the upcoming election, is understood to support the deportation measures.
But Miss Merkel will noenetheless want to ensure their implementation to in an attempt to put forward a tough stance on immigration and ensure success at the polls once again.
GERMANY PLANS TO CRACK DOWN ON 'BENEFIT TOURISM'
Measures to tackle 'benefits tourism' are being put forward by the German Chancellor.
Planned reforms will see a crackdown on child benefits payments to migrants whose children live in another country.
The government plans to link payments to the cost of living in a migrant's home country.
For example, The Telegraph reports, a Polish citizen claiming benefit for a child in Poland would see a reduction from €192 to €96 (£82).
A draft law currently is being prepared, but Germany will first have to lobby for European Commission rules to be changed because the proposals are illegal as the law stands.
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