Cologne sexual assaults: Angela Merkel begins U-turn on immigration policy following attacks

The attacks have shocked Germany and sparked national debate about immigration rules

Siobhan Fenton
Saturday 09 January 2016 11:50
Comments
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's refugee policy has attracted praise from all over the world
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's refugee policy has attracted praise from all over the world

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she is considering changing the law to allow immigrants who commit crimes to be expelled from Germany faster, it has been reported.

The apparent policy U-turn comes following reports of mass sexual assault and a number of rapes allegedly undertaken by men from among a group of more than a thousand in Cologne on New Year’s Eve.

In light of claims that a large number of the attackers were of North African and Arab appearance, politicians in Germany have called for tighter rules on immigration.

Currently, asylum seekers are only deported if they have been sentenced to jail for at least three years and are deemed to not represent a threat to people in their home country. However, Deutsche Welle reports that Chancellor Merkel has said she is now open to changing the law to make expulsion considerably quicker.

She has reportedly told a party meeting in Mainz: “The most important thing is that the facts about what happened are spoken about openly and bluntly. Terrible things happened, and we must respond to them.”

When asked whether she believes it should be possible for criminal immigrants to have their right to remain in Germany revoked, she reportedly said: “We should ask ourselves whether it might be necessary to take this away earlier and I have to say that for me, we must take it away sooner.”

During 2015, Germany accepted more than a million refugees, many of whom were fleeing conflict in the Middle East.

The New Year’s Eve attacks have shocked the country. More than a hundred women are believed to have been attacked; molested sexually and beaten physically, as well as being intimidated and threatened.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in