Europe is at a crossroads after the Cologne attacks

Europe is in a state of shock following the mass sexual assaults in Cologne, Germany, on New Year’s Eve.

The attacks were one of the worst mass assaults on European soil since the 9/11 attacks.

The scale of the assaults has been described by some as the worst since the Third Reich.

Australia’s Prime Minister says there is no doubt there was a link between the attacks and the influx of refugees from the Middle East.

“The question is how much we can do about it,” Mr Rudd told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

“We can’t keep letting these numbers grow, they’re getting bigger, they are going to grow bigger, and we cannot continue to do this.”

Mr Rudd has said Australia will not accept any refugees, nor will it accept people from Syria or Iraq.

On Thursday, Australia was due to hold a major parliamentary vote on a proposal to introduce a $10,000 bounty for anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators.

But in an interview with the ABC on Friday, Mr Rudd said he would not have introduced the bounty if he had known that a man who has pleaded not guilty to the Cologne assaults was planning to flee to Turkey, where he is wanted.

“There is no question I would have made it harder on the man if I had known about his intentions,” he said.

Mr Abbott also defended the Government’s decision to introduce the $10 million bounty, saying the money was necessary to “protect Australian citizens and families”.

“This is a big, tough, tough policy that is being put in place to protect our citizens and their families,” he told ABC News Breakfast.

The Federal Government will also pay $500,000 to help cover legal costs for women who were raped in Cologne and to support the families of the survivors.

Newspaper readers, particularly women who are working in the hospitality industry, are expressing concern about the potential impact on the tourism industry.

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