AfD fails in court bid against Merkel's refugee policy

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AfD fails in court bid against Merkel's refugee policy
Photo: DPA

Germany’s top court has rejected complaints by the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) parliamentary group against the government’s refugee policy.


The judges of the Second Senate rejected all three complaints put forward by the AfD unanimously as inadmissible, according to a decision published on Tuesday by the Federal Constitutional Court based in Karlsruhe.

The party faction failed to sufficiently demonstrate that the government’s decision to allow asylum seekers/refugees into the country had “violated or directly threatened” its rights, the judges ruled. 

The complaints raised by the AfD are based on the decision by the German government, under Angela Merkel, to allow asylum seekers to enter Germany during the height of the refugee crisis in 2015. At the time there was a huge increase of people travelling along the 'Balkan route' trying to seek protection in Germany.

Merkel said the situation was a humanitarian emergency. The AfD is one of the biggest opponents of this decision.

In its complaints registered in April this year, the AfD parliamentary group had bemoaned that the Bundestag didn't allow other parties to participate in the decision making process when it came to allowing for the entry of refugees. In doing so, stated the AfD, they had violated their so-called participation rights.

At that time, however, the AfD itself was not yet sitting in the Bundestag; the party only entered the government in 2017. 

SEE ALSO: Three crisis that have rocked Merkel since her re-election


The court ruled that the AfD applications filed in so-called Organstreit proceedings (cases relating to disputes between constitutional bodies or institutions) were inadmissible. The court said the AfD group sought “the upholding of general applicable law and the obligation to perform a specific action” - that being the refusal to allow asylum seekers to enter at the borders. 

However, Organstreit proceedings aim for the clarification of conflicts of competence and do not serve to “review the objective constitutionality” of an institution’s specific action, the court said in a statement.

'Migration management act'

The AfD group stated that, by allowing certain asylum seekers to enter Germany, the government violated the participation rights of the Bundestag insofar as these also constituted basic political decisions.

According to the group, all significant issues in connection with migration should be regulated in a “migration management act”. However, in its complaint, the group also stated its unwillingness to participate in the introduction of such an act in the Bundestag.

In its complaints, the AfD parliamentary group sought a declaration to the effect that allowing the migration of foreign nationals from specific states “would only be permissible on the basis of a parliamentary act that was lawfully enacted prior”. 

Lastly, the group sought a declaration by the government that under certain conditions, asylum seekers are to be “refused entry at the borders".

SEE ALSO: Did welcoming refugees usher in Merkel's final act?

Merkel's decision

Immigration - and specifically Merkel's decision not to close the border to more than one million asylum seekers at the height of the refugee influx in 2015 and 2016 - continues to divide the political landscape, as well as voters. 

Voter anxiety over the policy swelled support for the AfD, which captured nearly 13 percent of the vote in the September 24th, 2017 general election.


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