German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged visiting Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed to speed up the process of repatriating the Tunisians who failed to obtain the status of refugee in Germany after a rejected Tunisian awaiting deportation killed 12 people at a Berlin market in December.
Weakened by her open-door migrant policy, Merkel met Chahed in Berlin in attempt to push for ways to encourage rejected Tunisian asylum seekers living in Germany to depart the country and return home after she received harsh criticism on the backdrop of the Berlin market attack.
“We must make it clear: whoever does not choose to return of their own free will then have to be returned involuntarily,” Merkel told the press, adding that the German government would offer incentives for those willing to voluntarily return including educational incentives and financial support for entrepreneurs.
Merkel, who is pressured to reduce the number of migrants after her country took more than 1 million migrants and refugees in 2015, added that around 1,500 Tunisians living in Germany are due to leave the country after only 116 returned home in 2016.
For his part, Tunisia’s Prime Minister rejected claims that his country is refusing to take back its nationals who failed to receive refugee status in Germany, saying that his government needs “clear evidence that we are really dealing with Tunisians.”
Last year the success rates for asylum requests was 3.5 percent for Moroccans, 2.7 percent for Algerians and just 0.8 percent for Tunisians.