EU migrant crisis: German attitudes to immigration harden following Cologne attacks

James Nickerson
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Merkel's coalition have agreed on measures to make it easier to expel refugees (Source: Getty)

Attitudes towards immigration in Germany have hardened in the aftermath of a series of sexual assaults in Cologne carried out by a group of men that included asylum seekers, according to a new poll.

The poll by YouGov found that some 62 per cent of Germans now believe the number of asylum seekers is already too high, up sharply from 53 per cent in November, driven predominantly by the changing opinion of women.

The change in attitudes follows events that unfolded on New Year's Eve, in which more than 500 criminal complaints were filed, 40 per cent of which alleged sexual assault. The criminal complaints were made against men described as being of Arab or North African appearance.

The interior ministry has said that 22 of 32 suspects identified by authorities are asylum seekers, Bloomberg reported.

Read more: Merkel considers tougher migrant laws

The assaults sparked a series of protests by Pegida, a right-wing movement opposed to Germany's immigration policy, and caused German Chancellor Angela Merkel to consider tougher migrant laws.

Indeed, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and Social Democratic coalition are looking at a number of legislative measures to make it easier to expel from the country refugees who commit crimes, including sexual assault.

Read more: Merkel's popularity drops over generous refugee policy

Also following the attacks, German women are now more likely than men to say the number of asylum seekers in Germany is already too high.

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