Federal-State Summit: Federal government continues to examine asylum procedures in third countries

Federal-State Summit: Federal government continues to examine asylum procedures in third countries
Federal-State Summit: Federal government continues to examine asylum procedures in third countries

In migration policy, options for asylum examinations outside the EU and deportations are to be explored. At the Chancellor’s meeting with the state leaders, there is rapprochement – but also disagreement.

The federal government wants to continue examining asylum procedures in countries outside the European Union and present concrete results by December. This is the result of a meeting between Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and the heads of state governments in Berlin.

The Chancellor said after the latest summit: “It is firmly agreed that we will continue the process and continue to report on these issues.” At the same time, Scholz dampened possible expectations.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) had sought opinions from experts on the legal and practical requirements for asylum examinations in third countries. When asked what options there are, Scholz said: “I think that is too early.”

Italy-Albania model?

A model like the one proposed by Italy, with the asylum procedures for boat migrants being transferred to Albania, is not an option for Germany given its different geographical location, said Scholz. The same applies to the British model, where refugees are to be flown to Rwanda. In these countries, 3,000 and 6,000 people are affected, respectively. This has “only a little to do” with the scale that Germany has to deal with.

The chairman of the Conference of Minister Presidents, Hesse’s Prime Minister Boris Rhein (CDU), said: “We will not stop at expert opinions now, I welcome that very much.” At the initiative of the Union, the Minister Presidents had agreed on a resolution before their meeting with Scholz calling on the Federal Government to present “concrete models” for asylum procedures in third countries or transit countries.

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.

Scholz said that the federal government would also push ahead with the deportation of serious criminals and “dangerous individuals” to Afghanistan and Syria. The Federal Minister of the Interior has already started talks on this and that things are “on the right track” there.

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, which included a demand for “immediate arrest” for criminals and dangerous individuals who are required to leave the country and who cannot be deported. The CDU/CSU has long been pushing for a regulation according to 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.

Thuringia and Bremen expressed their dissatisfaction with the new agreements in a statement of record. In it, they questioned whether a relocation of asylum procedures meets the requirements of the rule of law and humanity.

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 cash withdrawal to 50 euros per month. Rhein spoke of an important signal. The payment card should be launched in the summer, when the tender for the service provider will be closed. 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 protocol statement 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 50 euros.

Border controls meet with approval from Prime Minister

The heads of state welcomed the additional controls introduced in October at the border with the Czech Republic, Poland and Switzerland. The resolution states that the federal police are already using the internal border controls to reject refugees who enter from another EU member state in accordance with the legal possibilities. The Federal Chancellor and the heads of government are of the opinion that the EU Return Directive should be revised in such a way that rejections can continue to be carried out “in a practical manner”.

Rhine: Create conditions for deportation to other countries

Rhein also called on the federal government to quickly create the conditions for the planned deportations to Syria and Afghanistan. The states welcomed Scholz’s announcement that serious criminals and terrorist threats would also be deported to countries such as Syria or Afghanistan, for example, and that deportation regulations would be tightened for those who condone terrorist crimes, he said. “As states, we expressly acknowledge our responsibility, which we of course also have on this issue, when it comes to deportations,” he said. But in order to be able to deport, the states need repatriation agreements with the countries of origin.

No agreement between federal and state governments on compulsory insurance

Meanwhile, the federal government did not give in to the states’ demand for compulsory insurance against flooding and other natural hazards that applies nationwide. “The compulsory insurance demanded by the states would make living in Germany more expensive, entail a great deal of bureaucracy and would not relieve the state of financial liability,” said the responsible Federal Minister of Justice, Marco Buschmann (FDP), explaining the government’s negative attitude.

There should be further discussions. According to the states’ ideas, companies should have to offer a contract to every homeowner who wants to insure themselves against natural hazards. So far, homeowners for buildings in areas at high risk of flooding have not been able to find insurance that is willing to cover the high risk. Only about half of private buildings in Germany have natural hazards insurance.

Scholz sees progress: “We are making Germany faster”

Scholz saw progress in the cooperation between the federal and state governments to speed up approval procedures. 80 percent of the projects from the Germany Pact for accelerating planning and approval have now been implemented or are being implemented, he said after the meeting. “We are making Germany faster.”

Source: Stern

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