Germany approves measures to speed up refugee processing

Germany approves measures to speed up refugee handling and cut number of newcomers

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel smiles at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016.

The German Cabinet has approved a package of measures meant to help speed up the processing of refugees and cut the number of newcomers.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition last week agreed on the package, which involves using special centers to quickly process refugees who have little realistic chance of winning asylum. It means some Syrians may have to wait longer to bring relatives to Germany.

The government also plans to declare Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia safe countries of origin, making it easier to return refugees to those countries - something Germany already did last year for several Balkan nations.

Parliamentary approval is still required following the Cabinet's decision on Wednesday. Germany registered nearly 1.1 million people as asylum-seekers last year and is keen to ensure that this year's numbers are lower.

Germany, Europe's most populous country and its largest economy, has borne the brunt of the continent's biggest refugee influx since World War Two. Some 1.1 million asylum seekers arrived in Germany in 2015, most of them fleeing war and poverty in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

TRTWorld, AP