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Germany tightens border controls as far-right AfD party surges in the polls

German police vehicles on the border with Poland
German police vehicles on the border with Poland Copyright Cleared
Copyright Cleared
By Kristina Jovanovski with Euronews
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Authorities in Germany are tightening controls on the border with Poland in a bid to curb illegal migration but some fear it is simply a response to a rise in support for the right-wing in the country.

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There were more than 4,000 unauthorised entries from Poland to Germany in the first three months of this year.

Germany’s interior ministry told Euronews that people "intercepted" at the border were always given the possibility to submit a request for asylum or protection.

They are usually given accommodation in reception centres while their applications are considered.

We definitely have a strong concern that an increased police presence does not mean increased protection for the people
Judith Wiebke
Head of Law and Advocacy for the group Pro Asyl

But the head of the conservative Christian Democrats in the parliament of Brandenburg, which borders Poland, said he wanted the authorities to be given the right to deny entry to people crossing.

“We are not speaking about Ukrainian people," Jan Redman said.

"There are only a few Ukrainian people coming to Poland and Germany up to now. 

These people are coming from everywhere in the world - from Africa, from Syria, from Afghanistan, from the Middle East.”

A German refugee rights group says 70 per cent of people who apply for asylum in Germany are awarded protection status. 

But Judith Wiebke, Head of Law and Advocacy for the group Pro Asyl, told Euronews that could change with the new controls, especially as there is evidence of a rise in support for the country's far-right AfD party.

“We definitely have a strong concern that an increased police presence does not mean increased protection for the people but could lead to more rejection at the border for people who have a proper claim to asylum in Germany,” she said.

One young Syrian refugee at a holding centre, who didn't want his name used, said he has always viewed Germany as a humane and welcoming country.

"Germany has been receiving refugees (Syrian) for ten years and has and is very kind to Syrians," he said.

"My family here advised me to come to Germany. I liked Germany, and I saw Germany is a beautiful country, and there is a lot of humanity here.”

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