Germany’s Parliament Affirms Tighter Migrant Rules

Germany’s Parliament Affirms Tighter Migrant Rules
Thu Feb 25, 2016 19:38:27

The German parliament has approved new restrictive measures aimed at speeding up the processing of refugees and containing the influx of newcomers into European Union (EU) countries.

The new measures, which include the restriction of family reunions for some refugees, were passed with a large majority of 429 votes to 147 at the Bundestag, Germany’s lower house of parliament, on Thursday.

The rules also aim to speed up the refugee application processing by setting up centers to separate economic asylum seekers from refugees fleeing war in their home countries.

Some refugees will now be prevented from bringing their family members to join them in Germany for two years.

Under the new measures, the expulsion of convicted foreigners will also become easier. The issue was brought up after a series of New Year’s attacks in the western city of Cologne where nearly 500 women filed complaints of being sexually assaulted and robbed by alleged male refugees.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been under growing pressure to lower the number of refugees entering the country.

Last year, Germany registered 1.1 million people as refugees. Officials say they are making efforts to ensure the figure is lower this year.

Meanwhile, Greece announced that it was recalling its ambassador in Vienna for consultations over a disagreement with Austria over the EU’s management of the current refugee crisis.

According to a Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman, “19th century” initiatives were being used by Austria to address the crisis after Vienna left Athens out of an organized Western Balkan’s meeting this week.

Many blame major European powers for the unprecedented exodus, saying their policies have led to a surge in terrorism and war in those regions, forcing more people to flee their homes.

On Wednesday, human rights group Amnesty International slammed EU countries’ response to the refugee crisis as “shameful.”

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