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Germany’s Top Refugee Official Steps Down Amid Criticism

  • Merkel facing frustation within own coalition over influx
  • Tusk calls emergency EU leaders summit for next Wednesday
Police line the rail track as migrants wait at Tovarnik station.

Police line the rail track as migrants wait at Tovarnik station.

Photographer: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Updated on

Germany’s top migration official, who had come under fire for his handling of the refugee crisis, stepped down from his post, as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government considered measures to tighten asylum laws and speed up the response to the growing influx of migrants.

The German Interior Ministry announced Thursday that the head of the office for migration and refugees, Manfred Schmidt, was stepping down for personal reasons. Schmidt’s agency last month in a Twitter post announced it would stop sending Syrians back to the European Union states where they were first registered, a decision that contravened the EU’s rules on asylum seekers and brought rebukes from other EU member who argued that encouraged more to come.