“Hard but fair” about migration
“Many people feel a loss of control”
By Marko Schlichting
September 19, 2023, 3:26 a.m
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In many European countries, right-wing populist or right-wing radical parties are on the rise or in government. One reason for this is probably the refugee policy, with which many Europeans are not satisfied. It is a topic in the ARD talk show “Hart aber fair”.
Up to 5,000 refugees are currently arriving on the Italian island of Lampedusa – every day. More than 200,000 people have applied for asylum in Germany this year. The municipalities are overloaded. Now there is discussion about limiting the number of refugees. Former Federal President Joachim Gauck said in an interview at the weekend that he had come to the conclusion that it was not morally reprehensible and that it was perhaps politically necessary to pursue a limitation strategy.
“We will decide who comes to the European Union and under what circumstances, and not the smugglers,” promised EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Bavaria’s Prime Minister and CSU leader Markus Söder called for a change in migration policy and suggested an upper limit for the number of refugees who should be accepted into Germany. For this he received incomprehension and criticism from the governing parties, but also from the CDU.
At the same time, right-wing populist, right-wing radical and right-wing extremist parties are becoming increasingly successful within Europe. Victor Orbán, a right-wing nationalist prime minister, has ruled Hungary since 2010 and is accused of systematically restricting human rights in his country. Almost a year ago, Georgia Meloni took over as Prime Minister of Italy. She has been chairwoman of the Fratelli d’Italia party, which is classified as post-fascist, since 2014. In Poland, Finland and Sweden, right-wing parties are in government or are involved in governments; in France, Austria and Germany, right-wing radical parties are hoping for electoral success next year.
One reason for this is probably the EU’s refugee policy, with which many citizens are dissatisfied. On Monday evening, the guests on the ARD talk show “Hart aber fair” talked about the successes of the parties on the right-wing fringe. The refugee issue is also an issue.
Söder’s Germany Pact
Bavaria’s Prime Minister Söder has proposed a “German pact against uncontrolled immigration,” explains CSU politician Monika Hohlmeier. The member of the EU Parliament and daughter of the former Bavarian Prime Minister Franz Josef Strauss supports him. Many people felt a loss of control. “We have to show these people that we are also able to set limits,” she says on “Hard but Fair”. Unlike the AfD, her party is committed to a humane refugee policy.
Even if Söder’s proposals are heavily criticized in Germany, he is not alone in Europe. Hungary has refused to accept migrants for years. And in Denmark, the parliament has passed a “zero immigration policy” – also with the votes of the Social Democrats. At the same time, the country has agreed with Rwanda to accommodate refugees there during their asylum procedure.
help aid countries
The Danish path is wrong for Germany, says Katarina Barley from the SPD, one of fourteen vice-presidents of the European Parliament. But she also wants to limit the number of refugees within Europe. She is committed to speeding up asylum procedures to three months. Barley also calls for greater solidarity among EU countries when accepting migrants. “There are so many refugees in Germany because other countries have pulled out,” she says.
Barley and Hohlmeier are jointly calling for more support in combating the causes of flight. However, while Hohlmeier calls for appropriate financial aid, especially for the refugees’ home countries, Barley also has other countries in mind. “We shouldn’t just pump money into where the problems are,” she says. “There are also countries that take exemplary care of refugees. Previously it was Jordan and Lebanon, today it is Mauritania. They take humanitarian care and provide access to education.” The story about the “promised land” of Germany, which many people wanted to enter, is not true. “People first want to stay in their culture. That’s why it’s so important that we also support a country like Mauritania.”