The interior ministers of the EU are making a new attempt today to initiate a reform of the European asylum system. The proposals that are on the table are highly controversial.
Shortly before the start of EU consultations on a major reform of the European asylum system, Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser left open whether she could agree to the proposals on the table.
“There is a compromise on the table that is very difficult for us in Germany,” said the SPD politician on her arrival at the Council of Interior Ministers in Luxembourg. She is fighting to ensure that families with small children do not get into the intended border procedure. “For us in Germany, human rights standards are paramount,” she emphasized.
At the meeting of interior ministers in Luxembourg, a new attempt is to be made to initiate a reform of the European asylum system. It is still unclear whether a sufficiently large majority of countries will support the legislative proposals. According to diplomats, a crucial question is how the German coalition government will position itself.
More rigid treatment of migrants with no prospects of staying
On the table are drafts for legal texts that the current Swedish EU Council Presidency has drawn up on the basis of proposals from the EU Commission. In particular, they provide for a much more rigid approach to dealing with migrants with no prospects of staying. In the future, people arriving from countries that are considered safe should come to strictly controlled reception facilities after crossing the border, where it would normally be checked within twelve weeks whether the applicant has a chance of asylum. If not, it would be sent back immediately.
In addition, solidarity with the heavily burdened member states at the EU’s external borders should no longer be voluntary in the future, but mandatory. Countries that do not want to take in refugees would be forced to pay compensation.
In the preliminary talks for the meeting of interior ministers, the federal government had demanded that families with children be exempted from the new, strict border procedures. However, a large majority of the other states vehemently reject this because they see the deterrent character endangered by such a regulation.
In the morning, Faeser denied the question of whether the planned tightening of asylum law in the traffic light coalition of SPD, Greens and FDP was a point of contention. “So it’s not an issue because we have a common position as a traffic light,” she said. This provides for standing up for high human rights standards and for the protection of children. Faeser did not answer the question of how the federal government would position itself if its fight were unsuccessful.
Scholz promotes solidarity
Before his visit to Rome, Chancellor Olaf Scholz assured Italy of solidarity in taking in refugees. Italy, Greece and other EU states on the Mediterranean face a major challenge because the number of refugees arriving there is increasing, the SPD politician told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. “And we must not leave Italy and the others alone with that, but pursue an approach of solidarity and responsibility.”
Council of the EU on the reform of the EU asylum system UNHCR figures on migration across the Mediterranean Pro Asyl on the reform plans Information from the EU on the meeting of interior ministers
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