“Everyone is ready, except Germany”

More refugees want to go to Europe than they have in a long time. Minister Faeser would like to discuss with European colleagues today how they can be distributed fairly. But even in our own country there is a heated debate about the right course.

How can migration in Europe be managed better and refugees distributed more evenly? EU countries have been arguing bitterly about this question for decades. The topic is currently taking on new explosiveness. Last year almost a million asylum applications were made in the 27 member states of the European Union as well as in Switzerland and Norway – as many as last seven years ago. There is also a large number of refugees from Ukraine. In Germany alone, there were around one million people in 2022.

The challenges for some countries are currently even greater than during the refugee crisis in 2015. That is why the EU is working with renewed pressure to reform the so-called Common European Asylum System (CEAS). Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) is meeting her counterparts from France, Italy, Sweden, Spain and Belgium this Friday.

With Sweden, Italy and France, three countries are sitting at the table that are currently tightening their line on illegal migration or at least intend to do so. Example Sweden: The government there wants to reduce the immigration of refugees by 80 percent with a “new course of strictness”.

CDU politician criticizes Chancellor: “It’s double-dealing”

If it is up to Alexander Throm, the domestic spokesman for the Union faction in the Bundestag, Germany should take this as an example. Europe is in the worst migration crisis in years, he told t-online. “All EU countries have long since come to the point where they want to control and limit irregular migration, except Germany.”

He expects Minister Faeser to “turn the tide and leave her special migration policy path” at the meeting with the EU interior ministers,” Throm continued. This includes better protection of the EU’s external borders and the increased use of the instrument of “safe countries of origin” – for example in relation to the Maghreb countries.

Safe countries of origin are countries in which there is no fear of persecution or harassment of members of the opposition or minorities. You can be deported to these countries.

“In Brussels, the chancellor agrees to expanding the number of safe countries of origin, but in Germany the traffic light doesn’t implement anything,” criticizes CDU politician Throm. “That’s double-dealing.”

Green politician calls for “coalition of cohesion”

The Green European politician Erik Marquardt assesses the situation very differently than Throm. He calls on Faeser to advocate a “coalition of cohesion” in the reception of refugees at the meeting on Friday. “It will not help to tighten the asylum law with the Common European Asylum System, as countries like Hungary want,” said Marquardt t-online. “Germany must play a leading role in a ‘coalition of cohesion’ of states that want to help refugees.”

Deterrence and isolation do not solve the actual problem that too few EU countries take in refugees and that countries like Germany are therefore particularly challenged, says Marquardt: “Because the vast majority of people have a right to be here.” Faeser should “resist when right-wing populists tell lies in the debate and thus prevent real solutions”.

However, the tense situation in Germany, where many municipalities are reaching their capacity limits, is also a problem. “We have to acknowledge that many German municipalities are already overwhelmed and in crisis,” admits Marquardt. The Minister of the Interior must present a plan as to how the people who are expected to flee to Germany in the summer can be accommodated.

Left-wing politician: “The situation at the external borders is outrageous”

Clara Bünger, migration expert for the left-wing parliamentary group in the Bundestag, also warns against a tightening of asylum policy. “The situation in the European asylum system and in particular at the EU’s external borders is outrageous,” she told t-online. “People seeking protection are beaten up when trying to cross the border, arbitrarily detained and sent back to third countries without their reasons for asylum being examined.” In some Member States, asylum seekers are now detained as standard during the procedure.

Bünger thinks: “A reorientation of the EU asylum policy would be urgently needed.” A central point of reference should be the human rights and human dignity of those seeking protection. The admission of refugees from Ukraine has shown that such a policy is possible. “With the asylum package that the Commission presented in 2020, however, the exact opposite threatens: a further massive reduction in the rights of refugees, fast-track procedures at the border under actual prison conditions and a further outsourcing of responsibility for refugee protection to third countries,” criticizes the left -Politician.

In their coalition agreement, the traffic light parties had set themselves the goal of ending illegal refusals and suffering at the external borders. “If the federal government feels even remotely bound by these promises, it must work at EU level to ensure that the proposals for the CEAS reform are withdrawn and fundamentally revised,” demands Bünger.


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