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Europe without borders: What you should know about Schengen

The Schengen area comprises of European countries that have abolished passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders. The area mostly functions as a single jurisdiction for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy. The Schengen Agreement, which seeks to create a single European territory devoid of internal borders, was signed by five European Union …

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EU visa database reform targets undocumented migrants

The European Commission is proposing to upgrade the Visa Information System (VIS), the database containing information on persons applying for Schengen visas, in order to better respond to evolving security and migratory challenges. A proposal by the European Commission on Wednesday to upgrade the Visa Information System (VIS) aims to make it easier for police to identify people not permitted …

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What you should know about the EU Blue Card

The Blue Card, Europe’s answer to the US Green Card, is a work permit allowing high-skilled non-EU citizens to work and live in any country within the European Union, excluding Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom, which are not party to the scheme. Kai Dambach/InfoMigrants explains how it works. The EU Blue Card is a residence permit issued to highly …

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WhatsApp bans under-16 users in EU

Popular messaging service WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, has raised the minimum age of users in the European Union from 13 to 16. The move comes ahead of before the new EU-wide General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect on May 25. The new age limit only applies to those living in the EU. “We had to make a trade-off …

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German Social Democrats elect first female leader

There’s a first time for everything – even in a 155-year-old organization like Germany’s Social Democrats. They just voted in their first-ever female leader, Andrea Nahles. Germany’s centre-left Social Democrats on Sunday elected Andrea Nahles, a combative and outspoken former labour minister, as the first woman leader of the 155-year-old party. A decades-long SPD stalwart known for her lectern-thumping speeches, …

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Berlin streets to be renamed after African heroes

After more than ten years of agitations, new names for streets in Berlin’s African Quarter linked to the brutal German colonial past in Africa have been found. The representatives of the three major parties on the district council of Wedding (Greens, SPD and Left) have agreed to rename Petersallee, Lüderitzstraße and Nachtigalplatz in honour of African liberation fighters. Lüderitzstraße was …

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Thousands rally in Berlin over rising housing rents

Berliners are calling on the city government to address skyrocketing housing costs as lawmakers dispute recent reports that the German capital has had the biggest price hikes in the world. Elizabeth Schumacher reports. Thousands of people defied the rain in the German capital, Berlin, on Saturday to protest the rising cost of housing amid rampant gentrification. Berlin has the fastest-rising property …

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Germany: Residence permit of anti-Semitic migrants could be withdrawn, says Interior Ministry

Germany’s Interior Ministry supports the Central Council of Jews, whose chairman said those who disrespect German values should be stripped of their right of abode. It comes as Germany grapples with rising anti-Semitism. The chairman of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, Josef Schuster, told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that fines and reprimands were not enough when tackling anti-Semitism and …

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Almost 1 million persons granted EU citizenship

EU countries granted citizenship to around 995,000 people in 2016, according to the latest figures released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, on Monday (9 April). In 2016, around 995 000 persons acquired citizenship of a Member State of the European Union (EU), up from 841,000 in 2015 and 889,000 in 2014. Of the total number of …

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Sarkozy to face trial for corruption

Ex-French president Nicolas Sarkozy will stand trial for allegedly misusing his influence to spy on an investigation into his 2007 presidential bid. It was claimed the campaign was funded by former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. France’s financial prosecutor has confirmed that the former president will stand trial for influence peddling, according to Reuters. He’s accused of securing leaked details of …

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Germany records highest birth rate since 1973

Germany recorded a bounce in the birth rate in 2016, official statistics show. The country hit a 43-year high helped along by large numbers of recently-arrived migrants. The latest figures are part of an upward trend for Germany, Europe’s biggest country by population, which has suffered from low birth rates since the 1970s. Some 792,131 children were born in Europe’s …

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Spanish police arrest 89 Nigerians, break up sex trafficking gang

Spanish police have arrested 89 persons and broken up what they said was a sex trafficking ring. Spanish police have rescued 39 women and girls smuggled in from Nigeria and trafficked into sex work by a notorious Nigerian gang. Europol says the victims were kept in “squalid conditions in caves” and intimidated with voodoo threats. According to the BBC report, …

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Angela Merkel stresses migrants, Islam in first Bundestag address of new government

In the first major speech of her new term, German Chancellor Angela Merkel struck a conciliatory tone on immigration while offering an inclusive message on Islam. “Germany can do it,” she said, and “we are all Germany.” Jefferson Chase reports. Wednesday 21 March was the first time Angela Merkel addressed the Bundestag after the unprecedentedly long and difficult process of …

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Germany: Merkel responds to interior minister’s comment on Islam

Chancellor Angela Merkel and several members of the new federal cabinet have responded to the interior minister’s remarks on the position of Islam in Germany. New Interior Minister Horst Seehofer had told Bild newspaper “Islam doesn’t belong to Germany,” but added that “the Muslims who live with us are, of course, part of Germany.” Seehofer, a former head of Bavaria’s …

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“Islam doesn’t belong to Germany,” says new Interior Minister

New Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has said Islam is not part of German culture. His comments underscore his efforts to push the government to the right. Rebecca Staudenmaier reports. Germany’s new government may now finally be in place, but Chancellor Angela Merkel’s grand coalition appears to be off to a rocky start. On Thursday, newly inaugurated Interior Minister Horst Seehofer …

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Far-right UK group banned from Facebook

Facebook has banned a far-right UK party that came to global attention after US President Donald Trump retweeted some of its anti-Islamic posts. The social media giant said it had blacklisted Britain First for repeatedly violating rules designed to stop the incitement of hatred against minority groups. It comes a week after the group’s leader and deputy — Paul Golding …

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