In an open letter, numerous German celebrities call for better conditions for asylum seekers in Germany. They accuse the government of breaching its word.
In an open letter, numerous German celebrities speak out in favor of a more humane asylum policy by the federal government. The more than 50 signatories include stars such as Herbert Grönemeyer, the band Deichkind and the moderator Klaas Heufer-Umlauf. The starting point for the open letter was an initiative by the non-governmental organization (NGO) “#LeaveNoOneBehind”. She also published the letter on Instagram.
The letter primarily criticizes the allegedly precarious conditions of asylum seekers. For example, people would be locked up at the EU’s external borders and receive “worse standards” in fast-track asylum procedures. The celebrities also accuse the federal government of not remaining true to its policy: the traffic light parties in the coalition agreement had spoken out in favor of better standards for asylum procedures. “Instead of pushing ahead with the promised improvements, you now want to agree to the most massive tightening of asylum law ever,” says the protest letter.
“Write to your MPs! Prevent tightening of asylum law,” demanded Herbert Grönemeyer in the comments on the appeal.
Extension of safe third countries
In addition, the federal government is planning to expand the number of safe third countries, which means that asylum applications from people from countries of origin such as Syria or Afghanistan could be rejected more frequently in the future. The letter states that the federal government should “improve the right to asylum instead of agreeing to further deterioration”.
The accusation that the federal government has deviated from the policy planned in the coalition agreement and is drifting more and more in the direction of populism is described in the letter as a “contest of indignity”. From the point of view of the signatories, one sees that “populism is also gaining the upper hand in Germany” and that solutions “in the sense of and in the service of universal humanity are falling by the wayside”.
The background to the letter is a consultation of the EU interior ministers on a reform of the common European external borders (GEAS), which has been controversial for years, next Thursday. Countries on the external borders in particular have an interest in reaching an agreement here. The main question is whether some of the asylum procedures can be shifted to the external borders, as proposed by the EU Commission in 2020.
Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) recently spoke out in favor of this. The federal government is thus taking a much stricter asylum policy course than provided for in the coalition agreement.
Baerbock wants exceptions for minors – criticism from the Union
According to Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Federal Minister for Family Affairs Lisa Paus, the Federal Government wants to support exceptions for minors and families in the ongoing EU negotiations on new common asylum rules. The traffic light government has agreed to “generally exclude families with children under the age of 18 and all unaccompanied minors from the planned asylum procedures at the EU borders,” said Paus (Greens) of the German Press Agency.
The Union criticizes the German government’s announcement that it would press for more minors and their families to be exempted from the intended procedures at the EU’s external borders as part of the EU asylum reform. The government is trying to soften the original proposal of the EU Commission “further in various places,” said the parliamentary secretary of the parliamentary group, Thorsten Frei (CDU), the Berlin “Tagesspiegel” (Sunday). “Exempting families from external border procedures weakens the approach.” Their needs must and can be taken into account in the proceedings themselves.
The background to the EU consultations are increased numbers. For months, many people have been trying to reach southern Italy from North Africa via the dangerous Mediterranean route. According to information from Rome, more than 50,000 migrants have come to Italy on boats since January. According to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, more than 980 people have died or have been missing since the beginning of the year. In Germany, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees received a good 100,000 initial asylum applications in the first four months of this year, an increase of around 78 percent compared to the previous year.