Germany beefs up asylum rules as half a million cross Med

A refugee from Afghanistan waits outside the State Office of Health and Social Affairs in Berlin (LAGeSo) on September 29, 2015Germany toughened rules for asylum seekers from the Balkans as Europe struggled to cope with a surge in migrants, with new figures showing more than half a million have crossed the Mediterranean this year. Berlin added Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro to a list of so-called safe countries, so people claiming asylum from those states can be deported more swiftly to free up resources for refugees from war-torn countries like Syria. Germany’s previous open-door policy to Syrians has sparked clashes with some eastern EU member states, in particular Hungary, which has taken a harsher approach and sealed its borders to migrants.

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