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German parliament approves IDs for refugees

Under the new law, refugees in Germany will receive IDs that will contain information, such as fingerprints and country of origin. A centralized system will allow all German government agencies access to the information.

Germany's federal parliament on Thursday approved a plan that will provide identity cards linked to a centralized data system to refugees.

The new law is aimed at providing authorities a way of keeping track of those entering the EU's most populous country after some 1.1 million refugees arrived in 2015.

The legislation was previously approved by German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet.

Beginning in February, refugees registered in Germany would receive one ID card containing all the information required for an asylum request, according to officials.

The IDs will include information such as fingerprints, country of origin, contact details, health status and qualifications.

The new system is expected to be fully implemented by the summer, allowing all government agencies access to the centralized system.

The move comes after criticism of Germany's decentralized system, which allowed some migrants the ability to fake their identity or register multiple times.

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Europe's duty

Meanwhile, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said EU partners needed to provide more money to tackling the mass influx of migrants from war-torn countries to Europe, describing the 28-nation bloc's responsibility as "Europe's number one duty."

Funds are necessary "for a reduction of the refugee movement and cooperative support to our neighboring regions," Schäuble told journalists in Brussels ahead of a Friday meeting of EU finance ministers.

"We need…more funds for the stabilization of the Middle Eastern region," he added. "Europe has to do more there."

Schäuble's statement comes as the Federal Criminal Office BKA confirmed Thursday a sharp increase in violent attacks on refugee shelters in 2015, stating the number was six times that recorded in 2014.

ls/jil (dpa, Deutschlandfunk, Reuters)

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