Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Refugee crisis: Angela Merkel agrees to tighten asylum rules to stem numbers arriving in Germany

New rules will reduce family reunions for refugees and speed up deportations of failed applicants

Caroline Mortimer
Thursday 28 January 2016 23:42 GMT
Comments
Refugees waiting to be processed in Passau Germany. Approximately 700 people have been arriving over the Austrian border every day this week
Refugees waiting to be processed in Passau Germany. Approximately 700 people have been arriving over the Austrian border every day this week (Getty Images)

Germany has agreed new laws to tighten rules for incoming refugees.

Chancellor Angela Merkel reached an agreement with her coalition partners on Thursday evening to speed up deportations.

The new measures also include a two-year ban on family reunions for asylum seekers who are granted limited refugee protection, said Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, announcing the deal.

The coalition partners have also agreed that people from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia will not have an automatic right to asylum as these countries have been deemed “safe”.

The government also announced plans to accept more refugees from the camps in Turkey and Lebanon.

Mr Gabriel told reporters the mood “was good” between the coalition partners despite weeks of tension over Bavaria based Christian Social Union’s leader Horst Seehofer's threat to take the government to court if they do not stem the flow of refugees.

Angela Merkel has been forced to reverse her 'open door' policy towards refugees (AFP/Getty Images)

Ms Merkel’s “open-door” policy towards refugees has come under fire in recent weeks following the sex attacks on women in Cologne by suspected refugees on New Year’s Eve.

German towns and cities have said they are struggling to cope with the influx of 1.1m refugees who have arrived in the country over the past year.

700 people crossed the German border from Austria every day over the past - down from an average of 2,000 people a day earlier this year.

German officials have warned of a fresh spike in numbers when the weather improves.

Mr Gabriel said the new bill would deter illegal immigration.

Additional reporting by Reuters

Join our 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 inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in