Germany and Italy are accelerating deportations.
From the 280,000 asylum seekers that arrived in Germany in 2016, 80,000 were deported, of whom 54,000 voluntarily, AFP reports. The success of voluntary returns is owed in part to a government program that gives a €1,200 sum to each asylum seekers that returns home voluntarily.
The campaign is also beneficial to Chancellor Merkel, who is heading to the polls with a 16 point programme to deport refugees, hoping this will contain the surge of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
Merkel’s primary opponent, Martin Schulz, is now criticizing the policy of deportations, especially to unsafe countries like Afghanistan. According to Der Spiegel, states ruled by SPD have been resisting the policy.
Meanwhile, Italy’s Social Democratic government is said to follow with migrant deportations Interior Minister Marco Minniti said on Wednesday.
In 2016, Italy received a record 181,000 boat migrants from Libya, of which only 4,000 were deported. That is despite the fact that Italy rejected approximately 60% of the 124,00 first-instance asylum requests.
Addressing the Italian parliament, Minniti said that he would speed up the process of deportations for those not entitled to international protection. That will be achieved by increasing temporary detention centers from four to six.