German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants Tunisian citizens whose request for asylum has been rejected to be deported as speedily as possible.
Merkel, who is running for re-election this year, has recently increased her rhetoric on the deportation of failed asylum seekers.
People of North African origin are said to be facing discrimination and all sorts of abuse in Germany since a Tunisian terrorist, Anis Amri, killed 12 people and injured 56 others in a truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market in 2016.
Amri was a rejected asylum seeker, whose deportation was delayed by the slow processing of replacement paperwork.
“With the terrorist Anis Amri we had trouble with the issuing of a replacement passport – it arrived very late. However, one must also say that the multiple identities of Amri were very diverse,” Merkel said in her weekly video podcast on Saturday.
“And so, of course, we will talk about how we can ensure that the work is processed more quickly, especially when it has to do with a threat to public safety.”
She said she would raise the issue of speedier deportation with the Tunisian PM who is due to visit Berlin in the coming week. “I know that the Tunisian government has a very positive attitude to improving this cooperation. I spoke with President [Beji Caid] Essebsi before Christmas, and I believe we will see cooperation with Tunisia improve.”
In the podcast, Merkel reiterated her push to classify Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco as safe countries of origin’ under German asylum regulations, to accelerate the legal process for refugees.
The number of people seeking asylum in Germany has significantly dropped to 280 000 in 2016 from nearly 900 000 during the 2015 migration crisis, according to recent government figures.
(DW/dpa/SifaNews, additional reporting and final editing by Issa Sikiti)
Photo credit: DW/dpa