EU interior ministers are discussing new asylum laws. Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) wants to stick to the EU plans – criticism comes from the Greens. © IMAGO/Fotostand / Reuhl
Europe is once again arguing about migration. Now an asylum reform is supposed to create facts – but it is still unclear whether it will happen at all. All information in the news ticker.
- Asylum reform at EU summit? Much depends on Germany.
- Point of contention in preliminary talks: Large majority against the Greens' proposal.
- This news ticker for the meeting of EU interior ministers in Luxembourg is constantly updated.
LUXEMBOURG – When European Union interior ministers meet on Thursday (8 June), nothing less than asylum reform will be at stake. This is an ongoing issue of contention within the EU. "Each member state does what it wants," SPD migration politician Birgit Sippel once told our editorial team. The EU is divided above all on responsibility at the EU's external borders and on the rules for distribution. Now – once again – many things are about to change.
Asylum reform at EU summit? A lot depends on Germany
On the table are draft legislative texts drawn up by the current Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union on the basis of proposals from the EU Commission. In particular, they provide for a much more rigid approach to migrants with no prospect of staying. In addition, solidarity with particularly heavily burdened member states at the EU's external borders will no longer be voluntary, but mandatory.
The previous distribution system seems to have failed. Italy, one of the countries that takes in the most refugees in percentage terms, regularly criticises the current situation. The "mechanism of solidarity" does not work, informs the Italian Ministry of the Interior at the request of IPPEN. MEDIA. After all, countries that do not want to take in refugees, such as Hungary, would be forced to pay compensation according to the current EU plan.
It was unclear until Wednesday evening whether a sufficiently large majority of countries would support the legislative proposals at the meeting in Luxembourg. As the German Press Agency reports, a lot apparently depends on the position of the German government. Diplomats would keep a close eye on the voices from Berlin. In this country, there was an increase in asylum applications in 2023. According to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bamf), 125,556 people applied for asylum for the first time in the first five months. That was almost 77 percent more than in the same period last year. Most of those seeking protection came from Syria, Afghanistan and Turkey.
This is how the vote on asylum reform is going
A decision on the plans requires 15 out of 27 member states to vote yes, and together they must represent at least 65% of the EU's total population. If there is no sufficiently large majority, the negotiations would have to be continued once again.
If the EU Council of Ministers does not take a decision by the summer break, there is unlikely to be any chance of bringing the reform project across the finish line in the foreseeable future. The reason is that there must also be negotiations with the European Parliament about it. These could take months – then there may not be enough time to complete the project before the European elections in June 2024.
Point of contention in preliminary talks: Large majority against Green proposal
At the insistence of the Greens, the German government had demanded in the preliminary talks for the meeting of interior ministers that families with children be exempted from new strict border procedures. However, a very large majority of the other states vehemently rejected this because they see such a regulation as a deterrent character. There were also critical voices from the FDP. On top of that, Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) also seems to want to stick to the previous EU plans – although some SPD deputies criticize. In a letter, they denounce that the EU proposals "could weaken the right to asylum." The letter is available to the Münchner Merkur.
Meanwhile, the Greens are facing the biggest headwind – from their own party base. In a letter from 730 members, which is available to our editors, the signatories criticize the "German negotiating position". It is not covered by the coalition agreement. In the letter, the signatories complain, among other things, of a course of "deterrence and isolation" as well as plans for a "massive curtailment of the right of asylum".
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Migration researchers in Germany criticized the reform plans. "The major reform will deepen the migration policy crisis and divide Europe," said Bernd Kasparek of the Berlin Institute for Empirical Integration and Migration Research. However, it is uncertain whether the reform will come at all. (as/dpa)