German economy grows 1.7% in 2015

  • A preliminary estimate from the official statistics office suggests that Germany's economic growth last year was little changed from 2014. 
  • Destatis said that consumer spending was the main force behind the expansion, with household expenditure up 1.9% versus 2014. 

  • Figures published on Wednesday showed the German government's surplus in 2015 was far higher than forecast at €12.1 billion as tax revenues soared. *

Merkel's CDU party proposes tougher asylum laws

  • Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats Party published a draft plan on its vision for Germany's future following a meeting in Mainz on Saturday. +
  • Included in the 10 point plan are proposals to to make it easier to deport people who have been granted asylum, asylum seekers and refugees if they have been convicted of committing a crime - the measures would require parliamentary approval. 

  • The so-called Mainz Declaration follows dozens of sexual assaults and robberies that occurred in the city of Cologne on New Year's Eve. 

Refugee Crisis: Monday's developments

  • British Prime Minister David Cameron said in the House of Commons that the UK would take 20,000 Syrian refugees from camps near the Syrian border between now and 2020. 

  • French President Francois Hollande said his country would start reconnaissance flights over Syria to establish whether French war planes should begin bombing ISIS targets. 

  • Mr. Hollande said France would take in 24,000 refugees

  • Austria's Chancellor said that the country will 'step by step' roll back the emergency measures that allowed more than 12,000 Syrian refugee cross into the country unchecked. 

  • Germany's ruling coalition agreed to make an additional €3.35 billion in funding available to states and regional governments to help cope with arriving refugees and migrants.

  • A further €3 billion will be included in the 2016 budget to allow the government to cover the cost of paying benefits eligible asylum seekers.   

Human Rights Commissioner welcomes German decision to suspend Dublin procedures

  • The EU's Human Rights Commissioner, Nils Muiznieks, has welcomed Germany's decision to suspend the rules that call for member states to return asylum seekers to the member state through which they entered the EU in the case of Syrian refugees. 

This is the right thing to do. I hope more Governments follow suit.
— Nils Muiznieks, EU HR Commissioner