In Germany, a senior member of Chancellor Merkel’s conservative CDU party has added to a controversy over youth crime, which some of the country’s media believe could erode the ruling coalition.
With just two weeks to go before state elections, the premier of the Hesse region, Roland Koch, said children under 14 should be subject to the same laws that apply to older youths.
Koch’s comments come after he enraged members of the coalition partners, the SPD, by accusing the judiciary of being too slow to deal with young criminals.
Now, he has told the paper Bild am Sonntag that there is a small group of under-14s who commit very aggressive crimes.
Koch said it would be a shame if crime issues were abandoned to the far-right, which has already praised his stance.