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IMMIGRATION

Refugee jumps to his death from moving train

A 17-year-old refugee from Egypt leapt to his death from a train outside Munich on Friday morning after police found him carrying an Austrian deportation order.

Refugee jumps to his death from moving train
Photo: DPA

The tragic death came about when police moved through the train checking passengers’ identity documents, Bayerischer Rundfunk reports.

Officers found the young Egyptian hiding under a bench in an empty compartment. When they asked him to show his identity papers, he provided documents that he had been given in Austria.

While the one document recognized the teenager’s status as a refugee in Austria, the other ordered his deportation to Italy.

The officers ordered the young man to leave the compartment and wait in the corridor.

But according to eyewitnesses, he used the opportunity to escape into another compartment where he opened the window and jumped out.

The train was still travelling at a high speed through a town called Haar.

The young man landed on an adjacent set of tracks and was killed by the impact.

Police in Munich said the teenager had recently been caught by officers illegally entering Germany and had been sent back to Austria at the time.

It seems that once in Austria, he was ordered to leave the country and go to Italy.

Hundreds of thousands of people have entered Germany over the past six months seeking asylum.

Under the European Union’s so-called Dublin rules, refugees are supposed to apply for asylum in the country where they first entered the continent.

IMMIGRATION

‘Discrimination’: Austria’s benefit cuts for immigrants ‘go against free movement’

Benefit cuts imposed by Austria on immigrants whose children live in their country of origin contradict EU law becasue they constitute "discrimination on the ground of nationality", a legal adviser at the bloc's top court said on Thursday.

A picture of the sign and logo of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg
A picture of the sign and logo of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg on January 13, 2020. (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP)

The opinion is the latest legal hitch to befall a series of measures — imposed by a previous government that included the far-right — which sought to restrict benefit payments to foreigners.

Richard de la Tour, advocate general of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), said the cuts to child benefits constituted “an infringement of the right of free movement conferred on EU citizens”.

The specific case relates to reforms that came into effect in 2019 which indexed child benefits according to where the recipient’s children live.

This meant reduced payments for tens of thousands of eastern Europeans who work in Austria — notably in the care sector — but whose children remain in their countries of origin.

The advocate general’s advice is not binding on the court but it is seen as influential.

De la Tour found that the cuts were “indirect discrimination on the ground of nationality which is permissible only if it is objectively justified”, and that Austria had failed to do so.

They contravened the principle that “if a migrant worker pays social contributions and taxes in a member state, he or she must be able to benefit from the same allowances as nationals of that state”, he added.

In 2020 the European Commission, supported by six eastern member states, brought an action before the CJEU claiming Austria was “failing to fulfil its obligations”.

Former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz had said he hoped the cuts would save 114 million euros ($130 million) a year but in 2019 they recouped 62 million euros.

The former coalition also introduced benefit cuts for immigrants who failed to reach a certain level of German, but those measures were subsequently overturned by the Austrian courts.

The government that introduced in the cuts was brought down in a corruption scandal in May 2019.

It included the centre-right Austrian People’s Party (OeVP), which is still the senior partner in the current government.

However their current coalition partners, the Greens, opposed the benefit cuts at the time.

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