Germany votes to classify Maghreb states ‘safe countries of origin’

Despite strong criticism, Germany’s Bundestag has approved a proposal to add Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia to a list of “safe countries of origin.” The regulation aims to reduce the number of asylum-seekers in Germany.

In all, 422 German lawmakers in the lower house of parliament voted on Friday in favor of classifying the trio of North African countries as so-called “safe countries of origin.”

There were 143 votes opposed the change, while three lawmakers abstained. The move will allow German authorities to speed up the process of sending Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian asylum-seekers back to their nations of origin.

The decison must still be approved by the Bundesrat – Germany’s upper house of parliament – before it can be implemented.

Under German law, refugees from a so-called “safe country of origin” generally have no right to asylum.

Austria – Austria’s controversial asylum law that allows the government to turn away most asylum seekers at the border in emergency circumstances has passed the final hurdle in the parliamentary system.

Italy is now Europe’s top spot for refugee arrivals