Report: Merkel May Have Lacked Authority To Open Borders To Refugees

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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The German parliament’s legal experts claims Chancellor Angela Merkel and her government may have ignored protocol when they made the decision to open borders to refugees two years ago.

Merkel decided to let in tens of thousands of people stranded in Hungary Sept. 4, 2015. The government has not explained the legal grounds behind the decision, and a report released Friday by non-partisan legal experts states the decision should have been made by lawmakers in parliament.

The experts cite a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court, saying, “parliament is obliged to decide on whether, and to what extent, the proportion of non-Germans in the population will be altered by the arrival of foreigners inside the country.”

Newspaper Die Welt, the first outlet to publish findings in the report, claims the implication is that a vote should have taken place since the decision changed the proportion of non-Germans to Germans in the country. The Interior Ministry is the only agency allowed to issue an order to open borders without parliamentary approval, according to the newspaper.

Populist party Alternative for Germany and pro-business FDP have both called for a commission to look into the chancellor’s handling of the situation.

Welt reported in March that Merkel was hours away from shutting the southern border to Austria at the start of the refugee crisis before changing her mind last minute. Merkel was allegedly concerned over the press coverage she would face and the legality of the closure. None of the other ministers involved in the decision were willing to claim responsibility for any backlash if the borders were shut. Police were instead instructed to let everyone in, regardless of whether they had valid documents or not.

Merkel is expected to win a fourth term as chancellor in Sunday’s general election.

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