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Federal-State Summit: Proposals on asylum procedures in third countries in December

Federal-State Summit: Proposals on asylum procedures in third countries in December
Federal-State Summit: Proposals on asylum procedures in third countries in December

The Union is keen to try out asylum procedures outside the EU. The Chancellor is skeptical. The result is now a further review order.

The federal government wants to examine the feasibility of asylum procedures in countries outside the European Union and present results by December. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) promised this to the state premiers yesterday after several hours of consultations in Berlin.

It was “firmly agreed” that the federal government would make substantive proposals on this, explained the SPD politician. “The next time we meet with the state premiers, that will be the case.” The next regular meeting is planned for December 12.

At the same time, Scholz dampened expectations of a third-country regulation and estimated that the number of asylum seekers in Germany would only be reduced by a few thousand. The state premiers had previously asked Scholz to present “concrete models” for asylum procedures in so-called third countries or transit countries.

Rwanda and Albania: Two models already exist

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 on such a model with Albania for boat refugees who are intercepted in the Mediterranean. Britain wants to bring asylum seekers to Rwanda, where they will then remain if they are granted protection status.

Scholz is skeptical of both models. A model like the one proposed by Italy is not an option for Germany given its different geographical location. The same applies to the British model. In these countries, only 3,000 and 6,000 people are affected, respectively. This has “only a little to do” with the scale of the situation that Germany has to deal with.

At the request of the states, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) had obtained opinions from experts on the legal and practical requirements, which were discussed with the state premiers. The joint resolution paper of the federal-state summit now states cautiously: “The federal government is now evaluating the opinions submitted by the experts afterwards and will draw conclusions from them.”

Rhein: “As quickly as possible and as much as possible”

The chairman of the Conference of Minister Presidents, Hesse’s Prime Minister Boris Rhein (CDU), nevertheless viewed the decision as a “milestone” on the way to a practical model. “We will not stop at expert opinions now, and I welcome that very much.” When asked to what extent and when he expected relief here, Rhein said: “As quickly as possible and as much as possible.”

Like Scholz, the SPD states were skeptical that such a regulation could 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. The red-red-green governments of Thuringia and Bremen even clearly distanced themselves from the proposal 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”.

Bavaria and Saxony (both governed by the CDU/CSU), on the other hand, felt that the 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.

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. Rhein spoke of an important signal. The payment card should be launched in the summer, when the tender for the service provider will be 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, in a statement of record, Bremen and Thuringia proposed 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 state leaders welcomed the additional controls introduced in October at the border with the Czech Republic, Poland and Switzerland. The joint resolution with the federal government states that the federal police are already using internal border controls to reject refugees entering 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”.

Agreement on deportation to Afghanistan and Syria

There was agreement on the planned deportation of serious criminals to Syria and Afghanistan. The states welcomed Scholz’s announcement in response to the fatal knife attack by an Afghan in Mannheim. “In concrete implementation, close cooperation between the federal government and the states will be necessary,” the resolution states. However, it remains unclear how the federal government intends to carry out the deportations in practice. In the case of Afghanistan, this can only be done through negotiations with the Taliban government or agreements with neighboring countries.

No agreement on compulsory insurance

Meanwhile, the federal government did not give in to the states’ demand for compulsory insurance against flooding and other natural hazards across the country. “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), on Thursday evening, explaining the government’s negative attitude. There should be further talks.

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 have not been able to find insurance for buildings in areas at high risk of flooding 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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