The EU wants to tighten the asylum procedures. That is sensible. Finally borders are borders again. Because there is no right to a better life in a foreign country.
One should be careful with the term “historic” at the moment of impression. History always proves itself in hindsight. Its contours only become apparent when you are no longer so close to the immediate events. Nevertheless, it may well be that in a few years time it will be said: The renaissance of Europe, or more precisely of the European Union, began around the year 2022.
Until then, internal centrifugal forces and external pressure had brought the alliance of states to the brink of failure and put them in years of agony. With Great Britain, an important player had left the alliance. For a number of years it looked as if Brexit might be followed by a “poxit” or other major exits.
Christopher Schwennicke is the managing director of the collecting society Corint Media. He has been working as a political journalist for more than 25 years, including for the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” and the “Spiegel”. Most recently he was editor-in-chief and publisher of the political magazine “Cicero”.
Like a cooper, Vladimir Putin has touched the first consolidating frost around the barrel of Europe. But by accident. The Russian potentate had succumbed to the mistaken belief that the West would disintegrate if Russia launched a war of aggression against Ukraine. The opposite has happened. The West, NATO and the European Union have come together again through the aggressor Russia.
Germany was isolated
The second stabilizing circlet could at least have been forged since the end of last week with the agreement of the interior ministers on a new common asylum policy. The helpless and divided attitude of the European Union towards the migration situation has caused the alliance to drift further and further apart since 2015. Migration also played a key role in Brexit. Without 2015, Britain would presumably still be a member of the European Union.
Germany has always been in a very lonely position on this issue. In the beginning, Sweden and Austria stood by his side. Long ago. These two countries have now largely brought about the more restrictive course. The discussion paper came from Sweden. The Austrians, as the immediate neighbors of the arrivals, opposed the mitigation efforts of the German government.
The term is allowed here
In the end, a resolution came out that Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser called “historic”, and in view of the turning point that this resolution could herald, this term is permissible for once.
Much is still fragile, much is still questionable. At the end of the day, where are these asylum centers that are to be set up at the external borders? This side or beyond the Mediterranean? So there, where people set off in their unseaworthy inflatable boats and sailing dinghies? Or where they arrive? (As of now, that’s the solution. The other would be better.) And who can ensure that the procedures are fast enough (three months maximum) before these centers quickly find themselves in unsustainable conditions due to overcrowding?
But for the first time in a long time, the confederation of states has a chance to regain sovereignty and control over an event that had eluded it for a decade. Immigration was not regulated. She happened.
Not inhuman, but fair
What has happened now is politically reasonable and ensures that borders are borders again and that valid law within these borders is once again effective. The Dublin Agreement and Schengen were suspended – one more, the other less. The stability of societies within the Member States was at risk. The right-wing populist tendencies in many countries, including the rise of the AfD to ever new heights in this country, are directly and causally related to this. There is now another chance to get things right politically.
It is not inhuman, but simply fair, when checks are made at the external border to see who has the prospect or the right to asylum and who does not. As hard as it sounds, there is a right to political asylum for good reasons. There is no general right to a better life elsewhere.
And the limits of a country’s or a confederation’s capacity are not only measured in square kilometers of buildable area or the capacity of gymnasiums and converted hotels. But also the question of what else can be demanded of those who ultimately finance this aid. A government is accountable to its people for this. This must be plausible and understandable. It wasn’t for many years.