Status: 21/09/2023, 16:41 p.m.
Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) is pushing ahead with negotiations on the Common European Asylum System, according to government circles. © Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa
The number of unauthorised entries into Germany has risen sharply. The debate about how the German government should react is intensifying - and there is also a problem at the EU level.
Berlin/Brussels - The German government considers an agreement on asylum reform to be possible before the European elections, despite the blockade of the European Parliament. Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) is pushing ahead with negotiations on the Common European Asylum System, government sources said. The pressure on the German government is high after the European Parliament yesterday announced the blockade of negotiations on the planned asylum reform.
After all, it was precisely Germany's reservations that had prevented the EU states from taking a position on part of the planned reform, the so-called crisis regulation, in the summer. MEPs also justified their move by saying that the governments of the member states have not yet taken a position on this sub-area. Until this has been done, negotiations on two other sub-areas will not be continued.
Opinions in Germany differ widely
The delays are particularly explosive because of the approaching European elections in June 2024. Projects that have not yet been negotiated with the governments of the member states could then be called into question again and delayed for a long time. In the case of the planned reform of the asylum system, this would be a particularly major setback. The project has been in the works for years. It is also intended to help limit illegal migration.
Within Germany, opinions differ widely on how to deal with the increased number of refugees. The chairman of the Junge Union (JU), Johannes Winkel (CDU), wants to massively restrict the free movement of rejected asylum seekers in this country. "Rejected asylum seekers who cannot be deported must remain in return centers according to the Danish model," the CDU politician told the Bild newspaper.
Is Denmark a role model?
Denmark is currently being cited more frequently as a model in the debate. The Social Democrats in Denmark have taken up the cause of a strict immigration policy, thus depriving the right-wing populist Danish People's Party (DF) of its top issue. The Social Democrat Mette Frederiksen conquered government power in 2019 with this strategy and relegated the right-wing populists to the political periphery. However, Frederiksen's strategy is controversial in the country. The head of government is taking an extremely strict migration line by social democratic standards, in which Denmark takes in fewer asylum seekers than most other EU states in terms of population.
Linda Teuteberg, a member of the German Bundestag for the Free Democratic Party (FDP), cited a lack of political will as an explanation for deficits in Germany. "Part of the overdue turning point in migration policy is to recognize the limitation of immigration as a legitimate political goal, in day-to-day political business from Monday to Saturday, not just as a building block in Sunday speeches and interviews," Teuteberg told the German Press Agency. Legal changes are also not taboo, emphasized the MP from Brandenburg.
Rights: Boats stop on Mediterranean Sea
Meanwhile, AfD leader Alice Weidel called for a "Mediterranean blockade" to prevent smuggling boats from crossing to Europe. Without exception, they would have to be forced to return to the respective port of departure "with the help of fleet operations," she said. In doing so, Weidel made a similar statement to Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. Last week, the right-wing politician called for a European mission to stop boats on their way to Europe.
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It remains to be seen what will happen at the European level. The European Parliament is blocking negotiations on the Eurodac and Screening Regulations. The aim of the Eurodac Regulation is to make it easier to trace where in Europe an asylum seeker has previously been with the help of a database of fingerprints. The Screening Regulation is primarily concerned with the identification of irregular arrivals at the external borders of the European Union. It is unclear whether the Parliament will achieve through the blockade that the EU states come to an agreement on the crisis regulation, because the positions here are still far apart.
Poland and Hungary in favour of stricter regulations
The proposal for the new Crisis Regulation, for example, provides for longer deadlines for the registration of asylum applications at the external borders, as well as the possibility of lowering standards of accommodation and care. The German government fears that the standards will be lowered too much. For Poland and Hungary, on the other hand, the proposed derogations do not go far enough.
Next week, there could possibly be some movement in the matter. The EU interior ministers meet in Brussels. Migration policy is also on the agenda. Dpa