- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Germany Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel threatened this week to withdraw aid from north African countries if they refuse to take back rejected asylum seekers.

The German government has in recent weeks cited problems expelling migrants from Algeria and Morocco, saying their home countries were uncooperative and refused to take them back because of missing identity documents.

Germany is more than wiling to give economic aid to North Africa but only when the governments there reciprocate by allowing people whose asylum applications have been rejected to travel back into the country,” Mr. Gabriel told German public broadcaster ARD.

Tensions over a massive influx of migrants to Germany reached a boiling point after hundreds of women were sexually assaulted on New Year’s Eve in Cologne by “men of North African appearance.”

Prosecutors in Cologne are currently investigating 13 men in connection with the assaults, all of whom are from North Africa.

The number of North African migrants seeking asylum in German has skyrocketed in recent months. In August, only 1,500 Algerians and Moroccans sought asylum in Germany, but by December that number had swelled to 5,300, according to Die Welt.

The Christian Social Union, a conservative political party in Germany, has called on the government to designate Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia as “safe countries of origin,” which would make it much more difficult for migrants from those countries to be granted refugee status.

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