Under increasing pressure, politicians are seeking answers to rising numbers of refugees, which are leading to practical problems in many municipalities. Are cross-party approaches now in sight?
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has spoken out in favor of greater control of irregular migration and has promised possible additional measures. There are a lot of people coming to Europe and Germany, and the number has “increased dramatically,” he said at an SPD rally in Nuremberg on Saturday. “Germany is committed to the right to asylum,” emphasized the Chancellor. Anyone who comes and cannot rely on reasons for protection or who has committed crimes must also be repatriated.
With a view to the situation at the borders, Scholz called for clarification about possible irregularities in the issuance of visas in neighboring Poland. “I don’t want Poland to simply wave us through and then have a discussion about our asylum policy afterwards.” It must be the case “that whoever arrives in Poland is registered there and goes through an asylum procedure there” – and not visas that were somehow distributed in exchange for money would only increase the problem. This should be discussed with the Polish government.
Demands for common solutions
In the struggle for greater limits on migration, the traffic light coalition and the Union are calling on each other to find common solutions. CDU General Secretary Carsten Linnemann told the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”: “If we want to master this challenge, then the parties in the German Bundestag must be prepared to seek solidarity across all parties.”
Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck (Greens) told the editorial network Germany (RND): “If we don’t want right-wing populism to exploit this issue, then all democratic parties are obliged to help find solutions.” However, the FDP accused the Greens of “blockades” and called on them to rethink.
Habeck said at a Green party conference in Neumünster in Schleswig-Holstein: “What we have to do are concrete measures that help people, help municipalities, that help the political system as a whole.” Hollow sayings and phrases wouldn’t help. Habeck spoke out in favor of agreements with countries of origin and transit countries. But that means “giving something to these countries.” It should not lead to them using total force to repatriate people according to the motto “money for violence”. Instead, it’s about providing incentives to keep people passing through. They could then be brought to Europe in a controlled manner.
FDP urges the Greens to rethink
FDP General Secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai sharply criticized the Greens’ current course. “Whether with reforms at the European level or with the classification of safe countries of origin: the Greens are a security risk for the country in migration policy and, through unrealistic positions, make consistent government action and cross-party solutions more difficult,” he told the German Press Agency. The Greens urgently need to rethink this.
“Germany Pact in Migration Policy”
Linnemann said that migration policy now needs “a consensus like in 1993.” At that time, the basic right to asylum was restricted based on a compromise between the Union and the FDP and the opposition SPD. “Personally, I would immediately stop the dispute with the traffic light parties from coming to a public conclusion – and I would immediately be ready to say: Come on, let’s sit down at the table! So that the number of refugees goes down,” said Linnemann. The entire infrastructure is not designed for this high number.
On Friday, the opposition Union in the Bundestag had already submitted its own proposal for a “Germany pact in migration policy” with various demands. The background is the Germany Pact previously proposed by Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). The Union complains that the announcement was not followed by any concrete steps.
Additional border controls?
There were signs of possible movement in the controversial issue of additional border controls. Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) told “Welt am Sonntag” when asked whether there would be short-term stationary controls at the Polish and Czech borders: “In my view, this is an opportunity to combat smuggling crime more aggressively.” A ministry spokesman told the German Press Agency with reference to the interview: “Appropriate additional border police measures are currently being examined.”
Such additional controls must go hand in hand with the surveillance of the entire border area by the veil search, said Faeser. “We have already significantly increased the presence of the federal police on the Polish and Czech borders.” At the same time, she warned: “One should not suggest that no more asylum seekers will come as soon as there are stationary border controls.” If a person asks for asylum at the border, the asylum application must be examined in Germany. The protection of the EU’s external borders remains crucial, “which we achieve with the common asylum system”.
There have recently been increasing warnings of overload from states and municipalities. By the end of August, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees registered more than 204,000 initial applications for asylum – an increase of 77 percent compared to the same period last year. In addition, because of the Russian war, more than a million people from Ukraine sought protection in Germany without having to apply for asylum.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.