• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Berlin extends border checks as Nato launches sea patrol
German Navy supply ship "Bonn" is currently the flagship of Nato Standing Maritime Group 2. Photo: DPA

Berlin extends border checks as Nato launches sea patrol

AFP/DPA/The Local · 11 Feb 2016, 16:41

Published: 11 Feb 2016 16:41 GMT+01:00

"At the moment, there is no prospect of a sustainable and significant reduction in the number of non-EU citizens streaming into the territory of the Federal Republic," the Interior Ministry statement read.

Such a reduction would be the only condition for lifting controls on Germany's borders, including its border with Austria, which - along with the European Commission and the rest of the countries in the Schengen free-movement zone - has agreed to the latest German move.

Nato ships head for Aegean

News of the extension to the controls came on the same day as Nato confirmed it would send ships to the Aegean sea between Turkey and Greece to combat people-smugglers bringing refugees into the EU.

NATO "is now directing the standing maritime group to move into the Aegean without delay and start maritime surveillance activities", Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a press conference after alliance defence ministers backed the move.

 NATO Standing Maritime Group 2, currently under German command, comprises three ships and allies had promised more so it can carry out "reconnaissance, monitoring and surveillance in the  Aegean Sea," he said.

The military alliance had debated the move in response to a joint request from Germany, Turkey and Greece to step in.

"These are established criminal networks that extort and earn millions [of Euros] from these people and are happy to accept that thousands of them drown," German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said in Brussels on Thursday.

Von der Leyen added that she did not believe a parliamentary mandate would be necessary – as is usual with military deployments – for German ships to take part.

She argued that the deployment was a simple maritime monitoring mission within Nato territory.

But the Nato plan is likely to face vocal opposition within Germany.

"The planned surveillance of the Aegean by Nato and forwarding data to Turkey is perfidious," refugee organization Pro Asyl said in a statement on Thursday.

They added that EU plans to keep refugees in Turkey – largely pushed by Chancellor Angela Merkel - were wrong, as the country was not safe under the definitions of the Geneva Convention on Refugees, and is also already struggling with 2.5 million refugees within its own borders.

A UNHCR map showing refugee routes into Greece from Turkey. Image: UNHCR/Screenshot

Story continues below…

While the sea crossing from Turkey to Greece is one of the shortest water routes into the EU, it remains dangerous.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that 74,725 people arrived in Greece by sea between January 1st and February 9th – more than 44,000 of them in Lesbos, the largest of the Greek islands off the Turkish coast.

Syrian refugees accounted for 45 percent of those arrivals, with 29 percent coming from Afghanistan and 17 percent from Iraq.

SEE ALSO: EU 'will still allow Syrians in after Turkey deal': Merkel

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
Germany sees 'turning point' in birth rate decline
Children at a a kindergarten in Swabia. Photo: Nikolaus Lenau/Flickr

Is Germany's three-decade decline in birth rate now over?

Trump protesters rebuild and tear down 'Berlin Wall'
The 'Stop Trump' protest at the Brandenburg Gate. Photo: DPA.

US expats gathered at the Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate on Friday "rebuild" the Berlin Wall and protest US presidential candidate Donald Trump's own proposed wall-building.

Accusation of sexism within Merkel's party creates uproar
Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Chancellor Angela Merkel, two leading women in the CDU party. Photo: DPA.

A young politician from the ranks of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has caused a storm by suggesting that the party is institutionally sexist.

EasyJet 'in talks to buy German airline' to duck Brexit
Photo: DPA

EasyJet is in talks to acquire TUIfly, a board member of the German carrier said Friday, as the British no-frills airline looks for ways to keep flying freely within the EU after Britain quits the bloc.

Symbols of migrant plight to go on show in Bonn museum
Photo: DPA

A people smugglers' car, a dinghy and a life jacket are among items related to Europe's migration crisis due to go on display at a German museum.

Brexit
Green party demand 'quick and easy' citizenship for Brits
Photo: DPA

The Green party has called for Brits living in Germany to be offered a painless path to obtaining dual citizenship as to "reassure them over the future".

Berlin the new London? 10m2 flat to rent for €750 a month
Photo: Immonet.de.

This shoebox apartment in the gentrified Bergmann-Kiez neighbourhood may be a sign that the tides are turning for Berlin’s comparatively cheap housing market.

Far-right AfD reach record high in national poll
AfD leader Frauke Petry. Photo: DPA.

The Alternative for Germany (AfD) was backed by 16 percent of respondents in a new poll, which was a new high for the upstart populist party.

Bautzen youth beat up pensioner in racist attack
Photo: DPA

In the Saxon town of Bautzen, which has become a byword for racism and anti-migrant sentiment, two youths have attacked a 72-year-old man, shouting 'foreigners out'.

German lawmakers ratify landmark Paris climate accord
The German parliament (Bundestag). Photo: DPA.

Germany's lower of house of parliament on Thursday ratified the Paris agreement on climate change, following in the footsteps of 60 other countries that have committed to the landmark agreement designed to stem the planet's rising temperatures.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
5,682
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd