07:50 GMT10 August 2020
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    What was supposed to be a generous gesture is turning into a real financial nightmare for Germans who took on the responsibility of assisting Syrian refugees in obtaining asylum.

    More than seven thousand Germans who signed guarantor obligations in a bid to help Syrian refugees obtain asylum are suing the state, which has demanded that it have its expenses reimbursed for their medical insurance, housing and other needs, Deutsche Welle reported.

    READ MORE: First Migrant Center Opens in Germany Amid Debates Over Policy’s Effectiveness

    For instance, in 2015, Christian Osterhaus from Bonn helped two Syrian minors obtain asylum, and in 2018 he received a letter from the city authorities that read that he was obliged to pay 7,239 euros to the city budget, reflecting the state's expenses connected with the two refugees for 3 years.

    The court of Cologne has already sided with Germans suing the authorities in four cases, with their lawyer Lothar Mahlberg calling it "the first ray of hope."

    “The fact that those who voluntarily, at their own peril and risk, helped the Syrians who fled war to get into the country legally (not with the help of smugglers who carry refugees to Europe on inflatable boats by sea) will now have to bear the financial burden for many years, is very sad and irritating,” the attorney said.

    This happened due to the fact that Germany tightened its rules on the reunification of refugees with their families in summer 2016: until then, the obligation signed by the guarantor was automatically cancelled after the applicant was granted asylum.

    Back then, Germany’s Federal Administrative Court ruled that guarantors who had signed for asylum-seekers before the clarification was in place were accountable for three years after the refugee’s family arrived in the country. Those who became guarantors after the clarification are accountable for five years, regardless of the refugees’ asylum status.

    Germany has been struggling to manage a massive migrant influx, becoming one of the countries most affected by the migration crisis in Europe, which broke out in 2015 and saw hundreds of thousands of people fleeing conflict zones in the Middle East and North Africa.

    According to the World Population Review, Germany has the largest share of migrants in its total population among EU member-states, totalling 12 percent. 

    When commenting on the report, Srdja Trifkovic, a Serbian-American writer on international affairs and foreign affairs editor for Chronicles magazine told Sputnik that "the full price will be infinitely greater, in the fullness of time, for the Germans and other Europeans."

    asylum seeker, migrant, guarantor, migration crisis, compensation, lawsuit, refugees, Germany, Syria
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