What are the consequences of the Amri case?
The attack on a Berlin Christmas market has sparked a debate in Germany over how to deal with rejected asylum-seekers and individuals deemed to be "dangerous". The government has announced reform plans including legislation that will extend the period for which such persons can be kept in custody prior to deportation. Journalists assess the planned measures.
Encroachments on basic rights inevitable
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung defends Germany's plans to tighten its laws after the attack on a Berlin Christmas market:
“Naturally custody prior to deportation, deportation detention centres, residency restrictions, electronic ankle bracelets and video surveillance encroach on basic rights. They must - as is the case with all acts by the state - be proportional to the situation. So there is nothing wrong with establishing new grounds for detaining individuals deemed to represent a threat to Germany's security. … And temporary use of electronic surveillance in various fields is a milder measure than taking individuals into police custody. … But citizens don't expect total security either. They can't. They can, however, expect the grand coalition to achieve 'reasonable results' in difficult times, as the interior minister put it.”
Put more pressure on countries of origin
After attacking a Berlin Christmas market, Anis Amri travelled through Europe unhindered. That shows how helpless EU countries are when it comes to deporting rejected asylum seekers, Jyllands-Posten criticises:
“The possibilities for keeping rejected asylum seekers in custody are limited. Europe's politicians must find a solution here. And it's not enough for the border agency Frontex to set up a panel of experts that will travel across Europe and help EU countries deport rejected asylum seekers - as it announced it would do on Tuesday. We need more drastic steps. ... The EU must put considerably more pressure on rejected asylum seekers' countries of origin to take back their citizens. And there must be clear and forceful methods for sending more people home. A nice letter asking them to please leave the country is not enough. That's simply naive.”
Sweden also flummoxed on deportations
Sweden is facing similar problems and is following the debate in Germany with great interest, Svenska Dagbladet points out:
“Sweden and Germany are becoming more and more alike, as if they were mirror images of each other. We have both taken the same path on the refugee issue. First strong commitment and trust in our respective ability to deal with it, then an abrupt change of stance and a focus on reducing the number of people coming to our country. … Like Germany, the Swedish state must ensure that deportation is an option when a person is taken into custody for this purpose. To lock someone up is a major restriction of their freedom. At the same time it's problematic not to bring a deportation to completion. If the politicians don't want to face the German debate and the German proposals, they must urgently examine the question of [making the refusal to leave the country despite being ordered to do so] a punishable offence.”