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EU nationals in Germany face restrictions on ‘Hartz IV’ social welfare

A new bill being discussed by Germany's Cabinet could see unemployed EU nationals being denied social welfare for five years. Supporters of the legislation have said it would prevent a "certain form of social tourism." Germany's Cabinet was due on Wednesday to discuss a change in legislation restricting social welfare for non-German EU citizens. Under the draft bill, proposed by Labor Minister and Social Democrat (SPD) Andrea Nahles, EU immigrants who move to Germany without employment would be denied social welfare or "Hartz IV" for five years. The proposed legislation comes just months after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg ruled that EU citizens who move to Germany do not have the right to immediately receive welfare benefits, EU citizens have the right to reside in another member state for up to three months without residence formalities. However, the law allows member states "to refuse any social assistance benefits" during this period of time "to promote the financial stability" of their social systems. The court also said these benefits can be denied without requiring an individual assessment of the case. Support from city associations According to Germany's Federal Labor Agency 440,000 EU nationals living in Germany received social welfare in January. Topping the list were Polish nationals with around 92,000 recipients, followed by Italians (71,000), Bulgarians (70,000), Romanians (57,000) and Greeks (46,000). Local top-level associations have expressed their support for Nahles' legislation. Chief executive of the City and Municipal Association, Gerd Landsberg, told the "Die Welt" newspaper on Wednesday that Germany's current regulations could make Germany even more attractive to immigrants. "Freedom of movement within the EU does not mean that EU citizens can choose the social system with the most comprehensive services," Landsberg said. The new law should prevent abuse of the system and a "certain form of social tourism," he added. Avoid 'misappropriation' Representatives from other associations expressed similar opinions. "We need this law now," said Helmut Dedy, chief executive of the German Association of Cities. "The cities are waiting for it so that they don't have to pay additional social expenses," Dedy said, adding that the law would avoid "misappropriation" for immigrants from other EU countries. The bill also received praise on Wednesday from the Christian Social Union (CSU) - the Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU). "It's right that Nahles closes the existing gap for uncontrolled immigration into social systems," Bavarian Social Affairs Minister Emilia Müller said.

A new bill being discussed by Germany’s Cabinet could see unemployed EU nationals being denied social welfare for five years. Supporters of the legislation have said it would prevent a “certain form of social tourism.” Germany’s Cabinet was due on Wednesday to discuss a change in legislation restricting social welfare for non-German EU citizens. Under the draft bill, proposed by ... Read More »

Julian Draxler: Scoring again for Germany was good for my self-confidence

Julian Draxler scored his first goal in World Cup qualifying as Germany beat Northern Ireland 2-0. While this may have strengthened his position on the national team, the same old worries await him back in Wolfsburg. A good hour after the final whistle, Julian Draxler slipped past the TV cameras, parked himself off to the side of the waiting journalists and tapped on his mobile phone. The 23-year-old had his baseball cap pulled down low and beside him stood his small suitcase. "I got some messages about my goal, but nothing out of the ordinary," the attacking player said. "But I was actually just waiting for my family." Draxler's parents had followed Germany's 2-0 win from the stands, a match that featured a good performance by their son. Draxler beamed as he accepted his parents' congratulations. "I'm relieved, I hadn't scored for the past weeks," the national team member explained. "It was great to score a goal today, it was important for my self-confidence and my ego." Draxler, who had already left a good impression in his previous two World Cup-qualifying matches, put Germany in the lead with his goal in the 13th minute - a strike hit from the top of the box. It was the third start in a row for Draxler, who was a member of the German squad that won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. This is an indication of the trust placed in him by national team coach Joachim Löw. "I believe I performed well at the European Championships and worked by way towards inclusion in the first 11," he said. "We have a lot of good players at my position, so getting the start in the past two games is a good sign." In fact, the Wolfsburg attacker does seems to have played himself into the first team through his form in France in the summer, where he also rewarded Löw's trust in him. And Draxler is continuing to make a good case for himself. 'We are in a difficult situation' While things are going well for him with the national team Draxler continues to struggle for form at Wolfsburg and his critics have been getting louder. They accuse him of not trying hard enough, or of not having the right attitude. Following his demand that he be allowed to leave the club last summer, Draxler has come in for increased scrutiny. "The hard work continues," Draxler said. "I want to have success with my club as well." It is simply a different environment, club and country are two different things, he said, while at the same time rejecting the suggestion that he works harder for the national team than at club level. "We are in a difficult situation in Wolfsburg," he said."We can only get out of it by working together." Heavy criticism The confident attacker now hopes to be able to transfer the positive energy from his national team experiences to his club. However, the former Schalke player knows that this is easier said than done, as complaints get louder with every mistake he makes. Draxler and his teammates haven't won any of their last five games. And he hasn't scored a single goal for his club this season. Just like his friend Mario Gomez, who joined Wolfsburg during the summer transfer window. "We are focused on the next task at hand. We can't change anything else anyway," Draxler said. One of his main goals for the future is to be part of the German team that will seek to defend their World Cup title at the 2018 tournament in Russia, although it seems unlikely that he will still be in Wolfsburg by that time. On this evening in Hanover Draxler enjoyed his last few hours with the national team - for now - in the knowledge that just being part of the squad is a special privilege. "I enjoy every minute of it and I regard myself as a part of this team, because it's simply a lot of fun," he said.

Julian Draxler scored his first goal in World Cup qualifying as Germany beat Northern Ireland 2-0. While this may have strengthened his position on the national team, the same old worries await him back in Wolfsburg. A good hour after the final whistle, Julian Draxler slipped past the TV cameras, parked himself off to the side of the waiting journalists ... Read More »

Chemnitz explosives suspect apprehended

German police in the city of Leipzig have detained a Syrian man wanted for questioning over explosive material discovered in his apartment in Chemnitz. The arrest ends a two-day manhunt seeking the 22-year-old refugee. German police in Saxony said early Monday that they'd arrested 22-year-old Jaber A. following an exhaustive search in the eastern German city of Leipzig. Two apartments were raided in the operation and three other suspects were held for questioning. Authorities were alarmed after police - acting on a tip off from Germany's domestic intelligence agency - raided the suspect's Chemnitz apartment Saturday and seized more than 100 grams of an unspecified explosive material later detonated in a controlled explosion. A day later, a second apartment in the eastern German city was raided and police held another man for questioning. Experts are now trying to determine whether the explosives they found in the apartment were the same ones used in the deadly November 13 attacks in Paris and the March 22 attacks in Brussels. It was not immediately clear what the Syrian refugee was doing with the explosives. Speculation has been rife in the German media, but so far police have refused comment. Police have only said that the man was originally from the Damascus area of Syria and had been granted refugee status after arriving in Germany last year. Questions remain, however, as to how Jaber A. was able to evade police as he was at home when they raided his Chemnitz apartment at about 7 a.m. local time (0500 UTC) on Saturday. Officers reportedly spotted him and even fired at least one warning shot but he was still able to slip away. During the search, German police boosted security around the country, particularly around "critical infrastructure" like train stations and airports. Editor's note: Deutsche Welle follows the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and obliges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.

German police in the city of Leipzig have detained a Syrian man wanted for questioning over explosive material discovered in his apartment in Chemnitz. The arrest ends a two-day manhunt seeking the 22-year-old refugee. German police in Saxony said early Monday that they’d arrested 22-year-old Jaber A. following an exhaustive search in the eastern German city of Leipzig. Two apartments ... Read More »

Brussels at odds with Germany over future migrant deals

EU Minister Johannes Hahn has called out the German government for saying African transit countries could receive the same migrant deal as Turkey. Hahn and Chancellor Merkel will travel to Africa this week for talks. Contrary to popular discourse within German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, Brussels said the European Union's migrant deal with Turkey should not serve as a blueprint for potential future agreements with North African migrant transit countries. Johannes Hahn, the EU's commissioner for neighborhood policy and enlargement negotiations, said it was counterproductive for the German government to habitually compare the migrant crises in Turkey to those in Africa. Brussels holds that the situations in Turkey and North Africa are not comparable, since Turkey has become home to almost 3 million Syrian refugees, while North African countries, such as Egypt, are considered transit countries for migrants entering Europe. His comments come ahead of Merkel's three-day state visit to Africa, where she will travel to Mali, Niger and Ethiopia. The continent's migrant flow towards Europe is likely to be the main point of discussion. Ahead of her visit, the chief of the German Chancellery and one of Merkel's most trusted advisors, Peter Altmaier (CDU), reiterated the importance of a North African migrant deal in the German magazine "Der Spiegel." In September, Merkel told a European delegation in Vienna that: "Agreements similar to the one with Turkey must by all means be agreed with other countries, such as Egypt and other African countries." The EU-Turkey deal, agreed in March, stipulates that Turkey will receive 3 billion euros in EU aid for the 3 million migrants currently grounded in the country. The money is designated for housing and schooling for refugees. In exchange, Turkey has agreed to take back migrants from the Greek Aegean Islands, just off its coast. Almost no other official advocated the deal more than Merkel. However, Brussels now reportedly fears that Merkel's announcement and the CDU's discourse will lead other transit countries, such as Egypt, to expect the same level of aid. Hahn will travel to Egypt on Wednesday to discuss partnership opportunities with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

EU Minister Johannes Hahn has called out the German government for saying African transit countries could receive the same migrant deal as Turkey. Hahn and Chancellor Merkel will travel to Africa this week for talks. Contrary to popular discourse within German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, Brussels said the European Union’s migrant deal with Turkey should not ... Read More »

Steinmeier warns of deterioriating world order

Writing in the mass-market newspaper Bild, Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said that tensions between Washington and Moscow have created a situation that is "more dangerous" than the Cold War. Steinmeier penned an opinion piece published Saturday warning that relations between the US and Russia have reached a new low. "It's a fallacy to think that this is like the Cold War. The current times are different and more dangerous," Steinmeier wrote in a 214-word guest column published by Bild, Germany's largest circulation newspaper. The Ukrainian crisis, Syrian conflict and a lapse in nuclear material cooperation between the former Cold War adversaries are listed by Germany's top diplomat as reasons for the dangerous environment. He laid the blame mostly on Russia for "provoking" a new Cold War but, unlike the Cold War-era, in which the US and Russia had "red lines and respected them" the new multi-polar environment has more regional conflict making geopolitics "more unpredictable." A plea for stronger diplomacy "But in spite of all the frustration, disappointment and deep distrust on both sides," he wrote. "We must continue to search for ways to put an end to the insanity in Syria. The US and Russia must continue to talk." He closed by urging Moscow to put pressure on Damascus to allow humanitarian aid into the besieged city of Aleppo. "Russia can and must bring its weight to bear. And the regional players have to assert their influence on the fighters in Aleppo," he concluded. This comes as the UN Security Council is poised to vote on two rival resolutions on Syria on Saturday, one drafted by France calling for an end to air raids on Aleppo and a second by Russia that makes no mention of a halt to aerial bombardment.

Writing in the mass-market newspaper Bild, Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said that tensions between Washington and Moscow have created a situation that is “more dangerous” than the Cold War. Steinmeier penned an opinion piece published Saturday warning that relations between the US and Russia have reached a new low. “It’s a fallacy to think that this is like ... Read More »

World Cup qualifying: Thomas Müller strikes twice as Germany down Czech Republic

Joachim Löw demanded greater ruthlessness in front of goal ahead of his side's latest World Cup qualifier. He wasn't disappointed as Germany put three past the Czech Republic in Hamburg. Germany 3-0 Czech Republic Muller 13', 65' Kroos 49' Thomas Müller scored another brace for his country as Germany eased to a 3-0 win over the Czech Republic in Hamburg. The Bayern Munich forward gave Germany the lead early on with a neat finish after good work by Mario Götze and Mesut Özil. Toni Kroos made it 2-0 shortly after the break with a superb finish from distance, and Müller got his second midway through the second half, wrapping up the win with a close-range finish. Coach Joachim Löw demanded a stronger attacking performance from his side, with a shyness in front of goal ultimately costing them at the European Championship. But there were no such problems on a cold Saturday night at the Volksparkstadion, with a near full-strength Germany causing a timid Czech Republic side problems from the start. Germany opened the scoring in the 13th minute after a slick move including three of their brightest players on the night. Götze's dangerous run had the visitors' defence stretched, he found Özil who helped the ball onto Müller to finish well into the bottom corner. It was Müller's first goal in nearly a month, and there were others that felt they could get on the scoresheet. Julian Draxler enjoyed a lively game and almost doubled Germany's lead when he bent a shot a whisker wide of the post after Götze had found him. With the second half barely five minutes old, Germany moved 2-0 up – and it was a beautiful finish by Toni Kroos from outside the box. Joshua Kimmich, who started at right-back again after his goal-scoring international debut against Norway last month, created the chance with a driving run and cross from the right, and Kroos delicately guided the ball into the bottom corner with a first-time shot. Czech Republic struggled to trouble Germany at all on the night, with Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels reunited in central defence on a quiet night for the German defence. The victory was not in doubt after the second, but Müller added a third to notch up another win for Löw's side, stabbing in from close-range after Özil and Hector combined. Germany host Northern Ireland in Hanover on Tuesday night as they look to maintain their 100 percent start to World Cup 2018 qualifying.

Joachim Löw demanded greater ruthlessness in front of goal ahead of his side’s latest World Cup qualifier. He wasn’t disappointed as Germany put three past the Czech Republic in Hamburg. Germany 3-0 Czech Republic Muller 13′, 65′ Kroos 49′ Thomas Müller scored another brace for his country as Germany eased to a 3-0 win over the Czech Republic in Hamburg. ... Read More »

Cologne police: Detained refugee from Syria planned bomb attack

A teenaged Syrian refugee has been arrested in Germany on suspicion of links to the self-styled "Islamic State" group. Authorities described the young man as a "serious threat" who had been planning a bomb attack. The unnamed 16-year-old boy was detained by a special counterterrorism unit late Tuesday in the refugee shelter where he lived in the Porz district of Cologne. The teenager had been planning a bomb attack, police spokesman Klaus-Stephan Becker told journalists on Wednesday. In online chats, the boy expressed an "unequivocal willingness" to follow through on such a plot. The young suspect received "very concrete instructions" from a chat partner abroad on how to build a bomb, added police chief Jürgen Mathies. He said there was no evidence to suggest that the teen possessed the required materials for an explosive device. Quickly radicalized Police and prosecutors said information gleaned from his mobile phone showed he was in touch with IS and "wanted to recruit the young Syrian for Islamist activities," authorities said. The statement did not say how it had intercepted the communications but did note that a 35-strong investigation team has been detailed to follow the case. Authorities added that it was believed his "radicalization" had begun relatively recently. Prior to being detained, the teen was questioned three times by police over the past few months after authorities received tips from social workers and fellow refugees as well as a mosque in Cologne which suggested the teen had been rapidly radicalized. Police noted that the teen came from a "good home" and that he was first registered in Germany along with his parents and sister in January 2015. His parents were academics who lived in Damascus before fleeing the Syrian civil war. Germany is in a heightened state of alert following deadly attacks in neighboring France and Belgium as well as lone wolf attacks in which young asylum seekers were apparently "radicalized" and went on rampages such as the axe-attack on a train in Würzburg and a suicide bombing in Ansbach. Both attacks rattled Germans' sense of security and fuelled concerns over the country's record influx of migrants and refugees last year.

A teenaged Syrian refugee has been arrested in Germany on suspicion of links to the self-styled “Islamic State” group. Authorities described the young man as a “serious threat” who had been planning a bomb attack. The unnamed 16-year-old boy was detained by a special counterterrorism unit late Tuesday in the refugee shelter where he lived in the Porz district of ... Read More »

Foreigners become naturalized Germans despite detractors

One million people have gained German citizenship since 2000, becoming dual nationals. The data, gleaned by the opposition Greens, follows a Bavarian conservative demand that dual citizenship be abolished. The federal interior ministry statistics made public Wednesday by the Greens parliamentary group also showed that by 2013 half-a-million children whose both parents were resident foreigners had acquired German nationality on birth. Detailed figures showed 958,701 German naturalizations since 2000 and 491,862 newborns of foreign parents recognized initially as German citizens. Germany's legislature adopted the place-of-birth principle in 2000 after heated electoral debate that saw the-then governing Social Democrats under ex-chancellor Gerhard Schröder scuttle their plan to allow full dual citizenship without restraint. Their modified law change instead required children, once they reach maturity at 18 or before their 23rd birthday, to opt for one of two nationalities, for example, by remaining German but renouncing nationalities derived from their parents. Abolition call Last weekend, Bavarian allies of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who have long railed against her liberal refugee policies, called in a five-page paper that dual citizenship, even in its limited form, be abolished - in response to recent far-right gains. Since 2000, the rate of foreigners seeking German nationalization has slowed to about 110,000 per year - a trend that researchers at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) attributed in 2011 to "the need to give up one's previous nationality." Wednesday's figures also recalled that Germany's last census conducted in 2011 had recorded 4.26 million persons who aside from having German nationality also had a further nationality. The ministry was quoted though as warning that that total had a "large statistical uncertainty" because a subsequent micro-census in 2015 had recorded only 1.69 million dual nationals within Germany. CDU/CSU 'fantasizing,' say Greens Greens interior affairs expert Volker Beck claimed Wednesday that in relation to Germany's total population of 82 million, the data debunked anti-migrant sentiment. The interior ministers of [Merkel's allied grouping comprising her Christian Democrats (CDU) and Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU)] should cease fantasizing about multiple nationalities," Beck told Düsseldorf's "Rheinische Post" newspaper. It would be more sensible that Germany "significantly improve its integration services for immigrants and refugees, said the Greens parliamentarian who party accuses Merkel's coalition government of impeding nationalization efforts. 'Modern citizenship law' needed Early last week, the federal government's integration commissioner Aydan Özoguz reiterated her Social Democrat party's call that Germany adopt a "modern citizenship law" with the option of dual nationality for all those willing to integrate. She told the "Frankfurter Allgemeine" newspapers that Germany's naturalization quota lay far below the EU average. Fewer foreign residents were willing to renounce "their old passport." Berlin election highlights 'gap' As a result, a gaping hole existed between the population measured in terms of resident foreigners and those Germans with constitutional rights to vote. No society could function long-term, when a large portion was excluded from political participation, she said. Ahead of Berlin city-state's election next Sunday, the non-governmental organization Citizens for Europe is campaigning on the issue that more than half-million Berliners will have no say. Extra resources for integration In July, Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizìere praised extra funding and higher tutoring wages allocated for integration courses across Germany in the wake of last year's arrivals of some one million refugees. Integration courses introduced in 2005 comprise German language training spread over 600 periods (each of 45 minutes in duration) plus 60 further periods so participants can learn about Germany's legal system, history, politics and culture. At the end of the course that normally runs over nine months, the participants undergo two tests - on language and knowledge about Germany. Those who qualify receive a certificate that can shorten from eight to seven years their waiting period before acquiring German citizenship.

One million people have gained German citizenship since 2000, becoming dual nationals. The data, gleaned by the opposition Greens, follows a Bavarian conservative demand that dual citizenship be abolished. The federal interior ministry statistics made public Wednesday by the Greens parliamentary group also showed that by 2013 half-a-million children whose both parents were resident foreigners had acquired German nationality on ... Read More »

Thomas Müller on the double as Germany sink Norway

Manuel Neuer wore the captain's armband as Germany got their World Cup qualification campaign underway in Norway. But Thomas Müller stole the headlines with a double. Norway 0-3 Germany (Müller 15', 60', Kimmich 45') Thomas Müller scored his first international goals in almost a year as Germany eased to a 3-0 victory in Oslo in their opening World Cup 2018 qualifier. Germany's defense for the title they won in 2014 got off to a flying start when Müller latched onto a loose ball in the box and rolled it through Rune Jarstein in the Norway goal, finally adding to his tally of one international goal since October 2015. Joshua Kimmich, the highly-rated Bayern Munich fullback, scored his maiden international goal on his seventh appearance for Germany just before halftime, collecting a delightful touch from Müller before rifling into the bottom corner. Müller claimed his second of the game and put the result beyond doubt on the hour mark, heading in Sami Khedira's cross to wrap up a very satisfactory night for Müller and his teammates. The game also saw Manuel Neuer play his first game as captain since being handed the armband by coach Joachim Löw following the retirement of former skipper Bastian Schweinsteiger. And it was a largely quiet night for the Bayern Munich stopper, whose goal was rarely threatened by a Norway attack that struggled to penetrate a solid German back line. On what proved to be a perfect night for Löw's side, their chief Group C rivals Czech Republic were held to a 0-0 draw with Northern Ireland in Prague, giving Germany an early advantage in the standings. Germany are now unbeaten in 24 World Cup qualifiers. They will face the Czech Republic in Hamburg on October 8.

Manuel Neuer wore the captain’s armband as Germany got their World Cup qualification campaign underway in Norway. But Thomas Müller stole the headlines with a double. Norway 0-3 Germany (Müller 15′, 60′, Kimmich 45′) Thomas Müller scored his first international goals in almost a year as Germany eased to a 3-0 victory in Oslo in their opening World Cup 2018 ... Read More »

MLS ‘an option’ for retiring Germany captain Schweinsteiger

Bastian Schweinsteiger has said that he still hopes to play for Manchester United, despite the fact that the coach doesn't want him. The Germany captain is set to make his final appearance for the national team. Speaking to reporters in Düsseldorf on Tuesday, Bastian Schweinsteiger, who announced last month that he was retiring from international football, has stated that he still hoped for an opportunity to show Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho that he could still contribute on the field. "It would be an absolute dream to play for Manchester United," the 32-year-old Schweinsteiger said. "I hope that I will get a fair chance. I believe in my abilities." Schweinsteiger reiterated his stated intention not to transfer to another team in Europe, saying he had had a "respectful" discussion with Mourinho, who has dropped him from the first team at the Premier League club. He also said he was prepared to be patient. "Now one just has to wait and see how things go in September and October, and what might develop," he said. At the same time he conceded that a move to Major League Soccer was "an option," but he also noted that this could not happen before 2017 as the North American league's transfer window had already closed. The only sure thing, he said, was that he would not retire as a player as a result of his situation at United. Bastian Schweinsteiger announced late last month that he had decided to retire from international football just over 12 years after he made his debut - a 2-0 defeat against Hungary in Kaiserslautern on June 6, 2004. He took part in seven major international tournaments, including an inspired performance as Germany beat Argentina in the final of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Having been dogged by knee injuries over the past year, he played a limited role at this summer's European championship in France. He is to play his 121st and final match for Germany when he takes to the pitch in a friendly against Finland in Mönchengladbach on Wednesday.

Bastian Schweinsteiger has said that he still hopes to play for Manchester United, despite the fact that the coach doesn’t want him. The Germany captain is set to make his final appearance for the national team. Speaking to reporters in Düsseldorf on Tuesday, Bastian Schweinsteiger, who announced last month that he was retiring from international football, has stated that he ... Read More »

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