Germany must “finally deport on a large scale those who have no right to stay” in the country, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has declared in the wake of massive pro-Palestinian protests and incidents of anti-Semitism.

Mr Scholz outlined the tougher approach to migrants in an interview with Der Spiegel on Friday, following a trip to Israel where he met with family members of German citizens taken hostage by Hamas during the October 7 attacks.

He slammed recent violent anti-Semitic protests in Berlin, and said Germany stood by its Jewish citizens against those who “unashamedly celebrate the death of those killed in the Hamas terror attack”.

The interviewer asked, “Among those in Germany who harbour hatred for Israel are many people with Arab roots. Did German policymakers ignore for too long the deep hatred entrenched in some groups?”

Mr Scholz denied the issue had been “ignored”, but said going forward “we will now be differentiating even more precisely” who was coming to the country and who was allowed to stay.

“On the one hand, there is the immigration of workers that we need,” he said.

“And there are those who are seeking asylum because they are the targets of political oppression. On the other hand, though, that means that all those who don’t belong to one of those groups cannot stay. That is why we are limiting irregular migration to Germany. Too many people are coming.”

He outlined a “package of measures” to reduce the number of people coming to Germany, including working with the European Union to ensure migrants are “fairly distributed”, tighter border controls and winding back cash payments.

“And I haven’t even mentioned one important one yet — we must finally deport on a large scale those who have no right to stay in Germany,” Mr Scholz said, referring to asylum seekers found not to be genuine.

“Those who are not likely to be granted permission to stay in Germany because they cannot claim a need for protection must go back,” he said.

“To make that possible, our public authorities must be reachable around the clock so that someone can actually be deported when the federal police take them into custody.”

Mr Scholz said immigration procedures “must be accelerated, with asylum applications and initial interviews taking place in the initial reception facility”.

“Court proceedings must also speed up,” he said.

“In some states, initial rulings in deportation cases come after four months, while in others, it takes 39 months. That is unacceptable. We have to deport people more often and faster.”

Germany took in more than 1.1 million migrants in the wake of the 2015 crisis, leading to a rise in crime and sexual assaults — infamously in the city of Cologne on New Year’s Eve 2015.

Growing public discontent has led to a surge in popularity of the far-right AfD party, which recently made unprecedented election gains in the west German states of Hesse and Bavaria, putting pressure on the three-party governing coalition led by Mr Scholz’s Social Democrats.

His government has already signalled it is looking to tighten immigration policy, which is considered by 44 per cent of German voters to the country’s “biggest political problem”, “way ahead of environmental and climate issues (18 per cent) and the cost of living (13 per cent)”, Aston University’s Ed Turner and University of Birmingham’s Julian Hoerner wrote for The Conversation last week.

“The success of the AfD is also evidence of a further ‘normalisation’ of the German far right,” they wrote.

“In Bavaria, 85 per cent of AfD supporters state they do not mind that the party is considered ‘extreme’ in parts as long as it focuses on issues that matter to them. The post-war West German taboo against voting for the far right is an increasingly distant memory.”

They noted that some AfD candidates for next year’s European elections had “publicly defended the extreme-right ‘identitarian movement’ and some members spread tropes associated with conspiracy theories such as the ‘great replacement’”.

“Certain party representatives are even monitored by the German internal intelligence services,” they added.

Speaking to Der Spiegel, Mr Scholz denied the recent success of the AfD has caused him to “change your tune” on migration.

“Your impression is wrong,” he said. “I am opposed to tactical politics. It must always be about the matter at hand and about finding concrete solutions to specific problems.”

Mr Scholz said the German government would “stand together closely together on this issue”. “We all know what has to be done,” he said.

“And it is my job as chancellor to ensure that there is no delay. The important thing is that our policies are not driven by malice. We must be firm in cases where someone does not have a right to stay. But at the same time, we have to be open and modern, because we need workers from other countries.”

Der Spiegel’s interviewer suggested that “those who demand limitations on uncontrolled immigration are quickly accused by the left of being inhumane and racist”.

“That does happen, but that’s not how most people see it,” Mr Scholz said.

“What matters now is keeping our society together. Those who want unlimited immigration must be honest enough to say that we would no longer be able to maintain our current social-welfare system. We would have to accept conditions with problematic parallel structures, such as those that exist in other countries. Nobody can seriously want such a thing.”



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By Rahul

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