Angela Merkel meets with locals in Frankfurt. Photo credit: Boris Roessler, dpa
Angela Merkel meets with locals in Frankfurt. Photo credit: Boris Roessler, dpa

The central European nation has stalled on its commitment to resettle refugees from North Africa and the Middle East in an EU-wide program. The move was criticized by the Green Party in Germany.

The European Commission plans to resettle at least 50,000 vulnerable persons from camps in North Africa and the Middle East within the next two years and to provide roughly half a billion euros for it. The German government has not given a final confirmation to take in refugees within that scheme, according to an article in the German Rheinische Post newspaper.

The resettlement scheme had been requested by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in July 2017. In response, Chancellor Angela Merkel told the United Nations that the European Union with a total population of over 500 million could take approximately 40,000 refugees from the camps. Germany would take in a share proportional to its population. Members of government had emphasized the advantages of legal resettlement over perilous illegal journeys across the Mediterranean. 

Deadline for confirmation missed

The article said that confirmation was supposed to have taken place in October, but the deadline was missed. It appears likely that the upcoming deadline in February will also not be met. As of December 2017, 19 EU countries had made confirmations, amounting to a total of 39,758 spots. Germany was not among those countries. On Tuesday, the European Commission confirmed that Germany still had not made any announcement, according to the wire service epd.

The Green party in Germany issued a parliamentary request into the resettlement plans. Luise Amtsberg of the Green party said that she feared that resettlement would be further stalled in 2018.

Held up in Berlin

The Rheinische Post article added that the hold up is likely due to the continued attention on forming a new government. Following the federal elections in 2017, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and sister party Christian Social Union (CSU) lost 65 seats, and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) lost 40 seats. That, combined with the reentry of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the entrance of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) into the German Parliament loosened the grip the Grand Coalition between the CDU, CSU and SPD. The CDU's attempt at a so-called Jamaica Coalition with the FDP and Green parties fell through, and Grand Coalition talks are still underway.

Refugee policies will be a part of coalition talks.


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