• Switzerland's news in English
Davos World Economic Forum
Refugee limits 'moral necessity': German prez
German President Joachim Gauck. Photo: Tobias Shwarz/Pool/AFP

Refugee limits 'moral necessity': German prez

AFP · 20 Jan 2016, 17:21

Published: 20 Jan 2016 17:21 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"Limits are not unethical: they help to maintain acceptance within society," Joachim Gauck told the world's political and economic elite gathering at Davos.
"Without acceptance, a society is not open and not willing to take in refugees," said Gauck, noting that this was why EU leaders are battling to stem the continent's biggest migrant crisis since the Second World War," said the former Protestant pastor.

"A limitation strategy can be both morally and politically necessary to preserve the state's ability to function," he said.

Story continues below…

"It may also be necessary in order to ensure that refugees receive all the assistance they require once they have arrived."
Debate is raging in Germany over the country's ability to cope with a record 1.1 million asylum seekers who arrived in 2015.
Gauck stressed however that the drastic action of slamming the door shut to refugees — as sought by populists and the far-right — was not an option.
An isolation strategy is different from setting limits, he said, urging supporters of democracy to take ownership of the debate rather than give ground to the extremists.
"If democrats are unwilling to talk about limits, then they will be leaving the field to populists and xenophobes," he added.
In Germany, he said, the political debate is "very clear that we should expect some form of control and limits to kick in this year".
Like Gauck, Chancellor Angela Merkel has rebuffed calls to close the German borders.
Instead, she has pledged a "tangible reduction" of arrivals in coming months and is counting on a raft of measures at the national and EU level to deliver on that promise.
These include reinforcing controls at the EU's external borders and getting other members of the bloc to take a bigger share of refugees.
Berlin is also tightening its scrutiny of asylum seekers by reintroducing individual interviews for all applicants, including Syrians, as well as ramping up the deportation process for those who have failed to win asylum.
Cases of deportations doubled in 2015 from a year ago, the interior ministry told AFP, with 21,000 forcibly removed from Germany last year.
The country earlier put several Balkan states on a list of "safe countries of origin", whose citizens are unlikely to gain refugee status.
Berlin is now looking to add to the list several North African countries, such as Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Female employees in Switzerland earn 19.3 percent less than their male colleagues. File photo: Randy Kashka

Switzerland's gender pay gap means from today, Friday October 21st, women in the country will effectively be working for free for the rest of 2016.

Swiss luxury watches stolen in Paris raid
Police outside the Girard-Perregaux watch store on Thursday. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The 10 Girard-Perregaux watches are worth half a million euros in total.

Brother-in-law arrested over murder of Swiss teacher
The victim worked in a school in Stabio, near the town of Mendrisio. Photo: Oliver Graf

The primary school teacher was found dead in Ticino earlier this week.

Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation
File photo: Emran Kassim

The Swiss public prosecutor has dropped the case against them.

Ticino firefighters rescue cow from swimming pool
File photo: The Local

The cow was at risk of drowning after falling into the private pool.

Uefa Champions League
Basel 'ready for battle' in Champions League clash
Basel training in Paris. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

Swiss champions Basel fancy their chances of springing a surprise when they face Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available