Criticism from the EU ahead of the special summit: Germany is “pretty isolated” with its migration policy
Germany is largely isolated in migration policy within the EU. Before the special EU summit on Thursday in Brussels, at which the majority of EU states want to press for faster deportation of rejected asylum seekers, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) nevertheless took a more moderate line.
In his government statement to the Bundestag, the Chancellor said: “Anyone who does not receive a right to stay here must also leave Germany again.” Blockades” in European asylum policy had been resolved. Among these, the Chancellor counted the collection of fingerprints from migrants via the Eurodac system.
In the vast majority of EU countries, however, this is seen differently. According to EU diplomatic circles, almost all states at the special summit are concerned with “reducing the number of migrants”. It is striking that Germany is one of the few countries that does not follow this course, it said. “Germany is quite isolated,” said an EU diplomat.
The Netherlands is one of the EU countries where the creation of additional housing for incoming asylum seekers is becoming an increasing problem. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte complains that the existing rules of the so-called Dublin system are not being observed.
According to the Dublin regulation, asylum seekers in the EU must submit their application where they first set foot on EU soil. In practice, however, many asylum seekers do not apply in Italy but move on to the Netherlands.
“A concrete result of this summit should be the statement: everything we have done so far in migration policy is not enough,” said EU diplomats. At present, the discussion among the 27 states is concentrating, among other things, on the extent to which pressure should be exerted on countries of origin, for example in North Africa, so that they take back rejected asylum seekers.
In his government statement, Scholz expressed the clear “expectation that the countries of origin would take back their nationals if they did not have the right to stay here”. He referred to a migration agreement between Germany and India. “It works very successfully,” he said.
However, many other EU countries, including France and Italy, want to take a harder line with their countries of origin. Rome and Paris are demanding that visa conditions be tightened for countries of origin that do not want to take back their citizens if they are rejected in the asylum procedure in the EU.
This is the largest refugee movement on our continent since the end of the Second World War
The discussion among the EU states makes one thing clear above all: Asylum policy is back on the community agenda. In recent years, the topic has faded into the background with the corona pandemic and the Ukraine war. A fundamental reform of the EU asylum system, which the community has been struggling with for years, is not foreseeable in the short term.
In view of the rising number of asylum seekers, the problem is also exacerbated by the fact that the EU countries have taken in millions of refugees from Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression. “This is the largest refugee movement on our continent since the end of the Second World War,” Scholz recalled in front of the Bundestag.
The Chancellor went on to say that “it is up to Russia to end this war – the sooner the better: for Ukraine, for Russia and for the whole world”. Russian President Vladimir Putin will “not achieve his goals – not on the battlefield and not through a dictated peace”. “That much is certain, after a year of war,” he added.
The day before, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) said during a visit to Kyiv that Ukraine is to receive more than 100 Leopard 1 main battle tanks from a group of several European countries. Nevertheless, a possible delivery of fighter jets to Ukraine is also being discussed at EU level. However, Scholz warned of a “outbidding competition along the lines of: battle tanks, submarines, airplanes – who wants more?”
The Chancellor made it clear that the Federal Government would not take part in such a discussion. “Because every dissonance, every speculation about possible differences of interest is only useful for Putin and his propaganda,” he said in justification.
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