Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry condemned the mass sexual harassment cases reported in the German city of Cologne on the New Year’s Eve.
Five-hundred complaints were filed against refugees in Cologne after New Year’s Eve, accusing them of sexual harassment and theft.
Shoukry added, in an interview with the German agency DPA, that this phenomenon is “unfortunate and unacceptable”.
The foreign minister warned against neglecting these incidents. “The sexual harassment phenomenon exists in Egypt too, I don’t know if this is related to male chauvinism, but it is something we try to eliminate,” he added.
He pointed out that Egypt is imposing severe punitive measures on public sexual harassment offenders.
Shoukry is currently in Germany on a four-day visit to discuss bilateral relations with German officials.
The German government coalition parties agreed Tuesday to facilitate the deportation of “criminal immigrants”.
German Minister of Justice Heiko Maas said in a press conference that “those criminals must be punished with a suitable punishment in Germany… deportation will be one of the punishments”.
In the same conference, German Minister of Interior Thomas de Maizière said deportation is a harsh but suitable response from the country towards any people who believe they can commit crimes in Germany with impunity.
The situation presents German Chancellor Angela Merkel with a challenge, as this summer she notably took a non-conditional stance against European quotas regulating the influx of refugees into Germany.
Since that point, the chancellor has faced pressure from European Union member countries, especially after the attacks on Paris in November, and from the conservative bloc within her own country. Merkel has slowly receded from her initial statement in the face of this pressure.
A summit meeting of the 28-nation European Union and Turkey in November was the culmination of this shift, as leaders agreed to tighten asylum policy, restrict family reunions for refugees and mount campaigns to keep people from setting out for Europe.
“If a refugee committed a crime, this will result in a punishment… This means that his resident right should be cancelled if he was accused with the crime,” Merkel said after the New Year’s Eve events.
A total of 1.1 million refugees arrived in Germany last year.
Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said Monday in a discussion in the Czech Republic that politicians should not take advantage of those attacks to promote their own agenda.
Mogherini added that violence toward women did not arrive to Europe with the refugees, and there will always be good people and bad people, regardless of the nationality.
“I hope that politicians or any responsible person would not mix this issue with other issues because unfortunately violence toward women was happening before this incident in Europe”, Mogherini said.
The Slovakian prime minister said the incident should prompt Europe to introduce more measures to ensure its safety and to monitor its borders.