Updated: Feb 2
By Jack Turner
Immigration and asylum seekers
The majority of political discourse this week was centred around immigration and asylum seekers. This was due to the revelation that there are only expected to be 166,000 asylum applications by the end of the year, a figure that falls below the upper limit agreed and envisaged by the grand coalition of 180-220,000 applications annually. A similar deficit has also been expected in the number of granted visas for relatives of subsidiary protected refugees – a visa that facilitates family reunifications – as it is forecast to only break a third of its 5,000 quota. Though, these deficits haven’t stopped German Ministers from pushing the Federal Government to cut benefits for asylum seekers who have already applied for asylum in another EU country. For more on this, it is these sorts of figures that Die Zeitjournalist Karsten Polke-Majewski references in his opinion piece, wherein he critiques not only the multi-billion euro cost of increased border control but also the human cost with which it coincides. Paragraph 219a
Elsewhere, the controversial Paragraph 219a of German criminal code, which states that anyone who publicly "offers, announces [or] advertises" abortion services can face penalties of up to two years' imprisonment or a fine, has returned to the spotlight after the government has called for a compromise on the law. This has outraged abortion advocates, which includes parties such as the FDP, the youth wing of the SPD, the Greens and the Left Party, who feel this legislation with ties to Germany’s Nazi past should be totally abolished. Whereas the more conservative parties of the CDU and AfD are glad to see the legislation upheld. Extremism
Five Frankfurt police officers, who are being investigated on suspicion of incitement, after exchanging xenophobic and right-wing extremist images, videos and content in chat group, may also be responsible for writing a threatening letter to NSU trial lawyer Seda Başay-Yıldız. The anonymous group threatened to "slaughter" Basay-Yildiz’s two-year-old daughter, knew the lawyer’s address and signed the letter “NSU 2.0”.