The Greens are particularly critical
Baerbock defends controversial asylum reform with gnashing of teeth
06/08/2023, 10:15 p.m
If the federal government had been able to decide on the EU asylum reform on its own, “then it would look different,” says Foreign Minister Baerbock. She knows about the resentment from her own party and justifies the reform compromise. Interior Minister Faeser speaks of a “historic success”.
Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has defended the European Union’s compromise for stricter asylum procedures. “The compromise is by no means easy. To be honest, if we as the federal government could have decided on the reform on our own, then it would look different,” wrote the Green politician in a statement made during her visit to the Colombian city of Cali has been published.
“But honesty also means that anyone who thinks this compromise is unacceptable accepts that no one will be distributed in the future,” says Baerbock. The plans for the new regulations met with sharp internal criticism from the Greens. A failure of the reform would have meant “that families and children from Syria or Afghanistan who fled war, torture and the most serious human rights violations would be stuck at the external border forever and without any prospects,” wrote Baerbock. “A no or an abstention by Germany on the reform would have meant more suffering, not less.”
The bitter part of the compromise is the border procedures at the external border for people from countries with a low recognition rate. “But without these border procedures, nobody but Germany would have participated in the distribution mechanism.” Together with the EU Commission, the federal government has ensured that the border procedures would only apply to a small proportion of the refugees – “namely for those who can hardly hope that their asylum application will be decided positively,” wrote Baerbock. For the majority of the refugees who arrive at the external border – i.e. Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis – these would not apply. “And we’ve fought hard to eviscerate children and their families, unfortunately quite alone.”
It is good that unaccompanied minors are exempt from border procedures, says Baerbock. “It’s not good that there are no general exceptions for families. But there are special protective rules – especially according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.” Baerbock wrote: “If Germany had voted against the compromise with Hungary and Poland, among others, a common European solidarity asylum policy would be dead for years. Instead, all those who want to raise national walls in Europe again would have a free ticket.” The compromise was also necessary to maintain a Europe without internal border controls.
Germany makes a note in the minutes
Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser described the unification of the EU states as historic. “This is a historic success – for the European Union, for a new, solidarity-based migration policy and for the protection of human rights,” wrote the SPD politician on Twitter.
At a meeting of interior ministers of the Community in Luxembourg, a sufficiently large majority of member states had previously voted in favor of the reform plans in question. Faeser hopes that the European Parliament will have a say in the further negotiations on the EU asylum reform. Germany had made a protocol note according to which families with children, especially with small children, should be exempted from the preliminary asylum checks at the EU’s external borders.
In particular, a much tougher treatment of migrants with no prospects of staying is now planned. In the future, people arriving from countries that are considered safe should come to strictly controlled reception facilities under conditions similar to detention after crossing the border. There, it would normally be checked within twelve weeks whether the applicant has a chance of asylum. If not, it should be sent back immediately.
In addition, there should be more solidarity with the heavily burdened member states at the EU’s external borders. In the future, it should no longer be voluntary, but mandatory. Countries that do not want to take in refugees would be forced to pay compensation. Countries like Hungary therefore voted against the plan.
Green tip disagreed on evaluation
However, Green Party chairmen Omid Nouripur and Ricarda Lang have different opinions of the EU unification. While Nouripour spoke in the evening of a difficult but necessary step, Lang said Germany should not have agreed to the reform plans. Also at the insistence of Germany, there are improvements such as the exception for unaccompanied minors, Lang wrote on Twitter. However, central points were not reached. “There will be no fundamental exceptions for children in border procedures, and a mandatory distribution mechanism could not be achieved, despite progress in solidarity and distribution.”
Lang concluded: “That is why I have come to the conclusion that Germany should not have agreed to the proposal for the CEAS reform in the Council today.” GEAS stands for Common European Asylum System. “This is a bloody difficult decision that no one took lightly,” wrote Lang. “That’s why I have respect for everyone who came to a different decision than I did in the overall assessment.”
Nouripour acknowledged different assessments and regretted that key goals had not been met. At the same time, he also spoke of “clear improvements” on Twitter. “There is a lot to discuss and we will continue to do so – in solidarity and respect – as we have always done as Greens. Overall, I come to the conclusion that today’s approval is a necessary step in order to move forward together in Europe. ”
The leaders of the Greens, Britta Haßelmann and Katharina Dröge, also assessed the agreement differently. The federal spokeswoman for the Green Youth, Sarah-Lee Heinrich, was “stunned” after the agreement. On Twitter, she wrote: “Foreclosure doesn’t mean fewer people flee. It means more people suffer.” The spokesman for the German Greens in the EU Parliament, Rasmus Andresen, has already announced that the interior ministers’ proposal will be rejected.