Dhe laboriously achieved asylum compromise by the European interior ministers has shown one thing above all: that the problem of irregular immigration is still considered less pressing in Berlin than in most other European capitals. Even though Interior Minister Nancy Faeser ultimately refrained from wringing more “human rights standards” out of the Swedish compromise in order to ensure that the agreement was successful, a remarkable special position of German asylum policy was revealed.
Restrictions that other liberal democracies consider compatible with international and refugee law are subjected to a special review by the federal government, as if there were only one reliable guardian of humanitarian standards in Europe. Not only in many EU countries, but also in large parts of German society, one asks oneself: Why? No other European country attracts as many migrants as Germany, and the cries for help from the municipalities leave no doubt that the capacities are exhausted
Asylum seekers who are rejected or who are not granted protection status usually remain in the country, if only because they successfully evade deportation. Few countries have more reason to gear the honorable asylum system back to those who are really in need, but the German government of all people is trying to water down such initiatives where possible.
The effectiveness is unclear
It is not even clear whether the accelerated procedures that have now been agreed at the EU’s external borders can effectively curb the influx at all. Only about a quarter of the migrants who want to immigrate via the right of asylum would be covered by the controversial new regulation; the federal government even wanted to reduce this proportion. It remains to be seen whether the agreed registration of all refugees and migrants at the external borders will pass the practical test. It would not be the first time that legal claims and the reality of everyday life diverge. The so-called distribution mechanism also has weaknesses. For only 20,000 euros per applicant, countries tired of migration should be able to buy their way out of the “obligatory solidarity” of the EU.
Some Member States could see this as a cheaper alternative in every respect. Germany will probably not be one of them. Perhaps the most far-reaching innovation could be the now permitted deportation of asylum seekers who have been rejected in the first instance to non-EU countries in order to continue their procedures. Faeser’s proposal to raise the hurdles for this did not find a majority, but even so it will be complicated (and expensive) for the EU states to persuade third countries to sign appropriate migration agreements.
In principle, the measures point in the right direction, but the early applause for the Union’s ability to act is only appropriate if the European Parliament agrees. Faeser has already deposited in Brussels that Berlin intends to continue to advocate for changes in the course of the process. Above all, the German Greens, who are suffering the most from the result of all traffic light parties, will try to at least defuse it through their MEPs. Their spokesman Rasmus Andresen accused the EU countries of “losing their moral compass” on Friday.
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