Before federal-state summit: States demand “concrete models” for asylum procedures

Before federal-state summit: States demand “concrete models” for asylum procedures
Before federal-state summit: States demand “concrete models” for asylum procedures

Should asylum procedures be outsourced to countries outside the European Union? The Union is pushing for this. There is scepticism in the SPD-led countries. Nevertheless, they are giving in to some extent.

The states are urging the federal government across party lines to develop concrete models for outsourcing asylum procedures to transit and third countries outside the European Union. At the Union’s initiative, the state premiers agreed on a corresponding resolution before their meeting with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD).

The SPD was nevertheless skeptical that such a regulation would significantly slow down irregular immigration. “I don’t believe that this will be a solution to our structural problems,” said Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil.

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser had previously expressed similar views. This could be a “building block” but would not fundamentally change the migration situation in Germany, said the SPD politician. The red-red-green governments of Thuringia and Bremen expressed their dissatisfaction with the state decision in a statement for the record.

The common European asylum policy must ensure that procedures are based on the rule of law and that humanity is respected, it says. “The transfer of asylum procedures to transit and third countries does not meet these requirements.” Thuringia’s Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (Left Party) spoke of a “pseudo-solution”.

The Union, on the other hand, was largely satisfied. North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU) called on Scholz to see the agreement between the states as a mandate to “approach a third-country solution with care, seriousness and determination.”

Federal government continues to examine asylum procedures in third countries

Concrete results are to be presented by December. “It has been firmly agreed that we will continue the process and continue to report on these issues,” said Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) to the state premiers during consultations in Berlin.

At the same time, Scholz dampened possible expectations. All speculation about “what is actually possible” is forbidden. Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) had obtained opinions from experts on the legal and practical requirements for asylum examinations in third countries. On the question of what options there are, Scholz said: “I think that is too early.” The federal and state governments had initially taken note of an interim report on the matter.

The resolution paper of the federal-state summit states: “The federal government is now evaluating the expert opinions submitted subsequently and will draw conclusions from them.”

Hours of negotiations into the evening

It was initially unclear whether the federal government would accept the states’ initiative. Scholz met with the state premiers in the afternoon, 90 minutes late. The discussions lasted several hours and continued into the evening.

Bavaria and Saxony (both governed by the CDU/CSU) felt that the state resolutions did not go far enough. They presented a five-point plan that included a demand for “immediate arrest” for criminals and dangerous individuals who are required to leave the country and who cannot be deported. According to the two states’ ideas, they should remain in custody until they leave voluntarily.

Agreement between Italy and Albania as a guide

The Union has long been pushing for a regulation under which migrants either undergo asylum procedures in transit countries on their way to Europe or are sent to third countries outside the EU after arriving in Germany. Italy has agreed such a model with Albania for boat refugees who are picked up in the Mediterranean.

Although this cannot be transferred to Germany one-to-one, the Union sees it as a model to follow. However, a country would have to be found that is willing to cooperate. The British model, according to which asylum procedures are to be carried out in Rwanda and applicants are to remain there if protection is granted, is considered to be hardly feasible.

The resolution calls on the federal government to “develop concrete models for conducting asylum procedures in transit and third countries and, in particular, to address the necessary changes in EU regulation and national asylum law”.

Faeser said on the sidelines of the Interior Ministers’ Conference (IMK) in Potsdam that a third-country regulation would not really reduce the number of asylum seekers. It would not be a “game changer,” she stressed. The Union, however, is counting on such a regulation to have a deterrent effect.

Payment card: No more than 50 euros cash per month

With regard to the planned payment card for asylum seekers, the states agreed to limit the withdrawal of cash to 50 euros per month. The chairman of the Conference of Minister Presidents, Hesse’s Prime Minister Boris Rhein (CDU), spoke of an important signal. The payment card should be launched in the summer, when the tender for the service provider has been completed. At the end of January, 14 of 16 states agreed on a joint award procedure for the payment card. Bavaria and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania are going their own way.

However, Bremen and Thuringia proposed in a statement of record a “cash corridor of 50 to 120 euros” instead of 50 euros per month in cash due to different regional conditions. Against this background, Rhineland-Palatinate opposed “a rigid determination of a cash amount of 50.00 euros”. The payment card is intended, among other things, to prevent money payments to smugglers or families in the home countries, to relieve municipalities of administrative burdens and to reduce the incentive for illegal migration.

Speed ​​up deportations required

The states also welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement to relax the deportation ban for Afghanistan and Syria and to return serious criminals there. Scholz was reacting to the fatal knife attack by an Afghan in Mannheim. The state premiers called for the plan to be implemented quickly.

They also demanded that existing border controls be maintained “until the EU’s external borders are secured in the long term.” The controls have helped to reduce irregular migration and curb people smuggling, the resolution states.

Demand for compulsory insurance for natural hazards

The second important topic in the discussions was the demand for compulsory natural hazard insurance for disasters such as floods, which the states confirmed in their resolution. “It is up to the federal government, the Bundestag, to make the right regulations in this regard. We will not tire of pointing this out,” said Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Weil.

For a year now, the federal states have been calling for the introduction of compulsory insurance for homeowners, but both German insurers and Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) have rejected this. Only about half of the private buildings in Germany have natural hazard insurance.

Such insurance often covers extreme weather events such as heavy rain or flooding. In light of the recent flooding events in Bavaria, Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) also vehemently advocated compulsory insurance against natural hazards for homeowners on Thursday.

Source: Stern

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