BERLIN (Reuters) - The German government has scrapped plans to deny benefits to asylum seekers who arrive in Germany via another EU member state following resistance from the members of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD).
A draft law by conservative Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere had floated the idea of withholding cash and non-cash benefits to refugees arriving from other EU countries, and instead providing a travel grant to help them return to the country of entry.
But the proposal met with fierce criticism from the SPD, junior partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “grand coalition” government.
Speaking in Berlin on Monday, de Maiziere said the parties had overcome their differences in weekend talks. Under the new draft, asylum seekers would initially receive benefits regardless of how they entered Germany.
If their asylum application was rejected or if it was decided that their claim should be handled by another EU country, then the benefits would be reduced to minimum subsistence levels.
De Maiziere also spoke out in favour of caps for refugees on a European level. Merkel had said in recent weeks that there was no upper limit to the amount of refugees Germany could accept because the right to asylum is written into the country’s Basic Law, or constitution.
“We will not be able to take in the entire world’s refugees, which is why I suggest generous caps in Europe,” he told a news conference.
Reporting by Thorsten Severin and Tina Bellon; Editing by Noah Barkin