Germany Accelerating Asylum Procedures

Germany Accelerating  Asylum ProceduresGermany Accelerating  Asylum Procedures

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has taken the lead in EU efforts to address the bloc's refugee crisis, announced plans on Thursday to speed her country's asylum procedures after talks with coalition partners on stemming the influx of migrants.

Under the measures, unsuccessful asylum applicants should be sent back within three weeks in what Merkel described as "a good and important step forward" following days of tense negotiations between the two parties in the ruling coalition, DPA reports.

People who have slim chances of being granted the right to stay in Germany will hear back on their application within a week, Merkel said.

A second assessment should follow within two weeks, if the migrant chooses to appeal.

Three to five holding centers would be established across Germany for applicants sorted into the group deemed unlikely to win asylum, under the plan.

Merkel, who heads Germany's conservative Christian Democratic Union, said the new fast-track system would mainly apply to those from the so-called safe Balkan countries, who are not entitled to refugee status, as well as individuals flouting a ban on returning to Germany.

She said the measures will affect migrants who have already applied for asylum in the past and those who do not have valid identification papers.

The announced package includes introduction of standardized ID cards for migrants and refugees, without which they will not have access to social security benefits.

The cards aim to lighten the load at registration centers across Germany as bureaucrats struggle to cope with migration levels unprecedented in Europe since World War II.

Merkel's toughened migration policy draws on the support of Sigmar Gabriel, leader of her center-left Social Democrat coalition partner, and Horst Seehofer, leader of the CDU's more conservative sister party in Bavaria.

The announcement marks some consensus in Merkel's often fractious coalition, which has clashed in recent weeks on issues such as proposed border transit zones and the chancellor's open-door migration policy.

Merkel has argued for the last two months that the EU can cope with migrant flows without blocking borders or constructing fences, vowing that Germany will provide a new home to all proven refugees.