EU asylum policy: Faeser promotes an alliance of willing states

EU asylum policy
Faeser promotes an alliance of willing states

Hopes for a further development of the European asylum system: Nancy Faeser. Photo: Tobias Schwarz/AFP/dpa

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When it comes to asylum and migration, the SPD, Greens and FDP want to make a fresh start. Since hardly anything is progressing at EU level, a consensus should now be sought with those states that are willing to take in refugees.

In order to end the blockade in EU asylum policy that has been going on for years, Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser wants to forge a “coalition of receptive member states” together with others.

Such an alliance could go ahead and thus get the further development of the European asylum system going, said the SPD politician after a meeting with EU Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson in Berlin. Her first talks with France and Italy on migration issues had been promising. The minister did not dare to assess how large this “coalition of the willing” would ultimately be.

This is not about a “national solo effort,” emphasized the deputy FDP parliamentary group leader, Konstantin Kuhle. “The goal must be for other member states to follow over time.” The steps now announced are not a substitute for a common asylum system. Rather, they served to get things moving in the negotiations.

Migration crisis in Belarus: “trapped”

The migration crisis on the border with Belarus has shown that the EU states can be successful if they act together, said EU Commissioner Johansson. Of the migrants who the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko “lured into a trap”, around 5,000 people have now returned to their countries of origin. Recently, hardly any migrants have come to the European Union irregularly, she emphasized.

Taking in asylum seekers is not the only way to show solidarity, Johansson said. Member States could also ensure that people without the right to asylum are returned to their countries of origin.

Johansson must ensure that the so-called pushbacks – i.e. the rejections of refugees – stop at the EU’s external borders in Poland, Greece or Croatia, said the managing director of Pro Asyl, Günter Burkhardt. He added: “The coalition of the willing must also put pressure on the unwilling to comply with EU law and allow those seeking protection to enter the EU.”

“A consensus is possible in detail”

“Even if it is difficult to find a common denominator in asylum policy at EU level, a consensus is possible in detail,” said the domestic policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group, Sebastian Hartmann. As examples, he named minimum standards for the asylum procedure as well as the care and accommodation of those seeking protection. “If this is not solved, we will not get the problem of secondary migration under control.” Secondary migration is when refugees travel on from one EU country to another.

It is good that Germany “is again taking on a more constructive role when it comes to the deadlocked negotiations on the reform of the European asylum system,” said the Greens’ chairman in the interior committee, Marcel Emmerich. Humanitarian solutions were “blocked or blindly ignored” by Faeser’s predecessor Horst Seehofer (CSU) for years. With a group of EU member states, Germany can now bring more movement into the negotiations and ensure better standards.

“Germany will bear the burden of migration alone”

From the Union’s point of view, that’s wishful thinking. “The traffic light government likes to ask that Germany should go ahead, but experience shows that hardly any other European country can keep up,” said her domestic spokesman Alexander Throm (CDU). The result will be “that we will largely bear the burden of migration alone”. Group Vice President Andrea Lindholz (CSU) warned: “With her announcement, the Federal Minister of the Interior is creating false incentives for more illegal migration to Europe.”


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