Merkel calls for faster deportations from Germany in wake of attacks

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Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called for faster deportations of failed asylum seekers as Germany moves to expand its anti-terrorism laws following a series of deadly attacks in the country.

“Those illegally here must leave our country,’’ Merkel said in a speech to the German Civil Service Federation in Cologne.

“Experience indicated that the authorities could decide much more quickly whether asylum seekers could stay in Germany and whether their countries of origin were secured enough to return to,’’ she said.

Merkel also said that European security services needed to boost their networking to help tackle the threat posed by terrorism.

“We need better networking in the EU,’’ she said

Justice Minister Heiko Maas set out on Monday a new package of measures, including jailing Islamists considered to be a threat to public safety and introducing electronic tags to help monitor extremists in the nation.

“We have to do everything we can to ensure that those deemed a risk are as closely monitored as possible even before a possible conviction,’’ Maas said.

“The use of electronic tags should not be a taboo,’’ he said.

Earlier, Maas told German public television that the government wanted to take steps to improve the current laws to ensure that those deemed to be a potential threat could also be held in custody.

“Those detained would then have to be returned to their countries of origin,’’ said Maas, who is a member of the Social Democrats (SDP), the junior member of Merkel’s conservative-led coalition.

At the same time, the government has raised the prospects of imposing financial sanctions on states that do not accept the return of their nationals who are rejected as asylum seekers.

The Ministry of Economic Co-operation and Development warned that the development aid should be directly tied to the willingness to co-operate with deportations.

The measures are to be discussed at a meeting on Tuesday between Maas and Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.

The meeting has been called to consider what further steps Germany needs to take following the December 19 terrorist attack in Berlin when 24-year-old Tunisian Anis Amri ploughed a truck into a crowded Christmas market killing 12 and injuring about 50.

Amri, who was shot dead by Italian police four days later outside Milan, had links to extremist Islamist groups and was due to be deported by the German authorities.

He had 14 aliases and was considered by the nation’s security authorities to be a threat to public safety.

Germany has been on edge since July following two Islamic State-inspired attacks in the southern state of Bavaria.

De Maiziere has already set out steps to take surveillance operations and powers for deporting failed asylum seekers away from Germany’s 16 states and centralising them in Berlin to help overcome delays in repatriating those considered to be risks to public safety.

But the plan has run into stiff opposition from state governments. (dpa/NAN)

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