Africa We Want

EUROPEAN UNION: Germany wants EU to adopt « Rwanda-style » migrant programme

Berlin takes « leading role » pushing for new asylum system across the bloc, but Green coalition partners criticise « exclusion » policy. By Jörg Luyken

Olaf Scholz, the German Chancellor, and his interior minister Nancy Faeser are hoping to to push through a new migrant deal CREDIT: John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images

Germany is reportedly pushing the EU to adopt a British-style deal in which asylum seekers would be deported to Rwanda while their case is dealt with.

Berlin is playing a « leading role » in advocating for a deal with a non-EU state in order to filter out migrants who have little chance of being granted asylum, Die Welt newspaper reported.

Rwanda and Niger are both being considered as partner countries and would receive financial compensation in return, according to the report.

While hardliners like Austria and Hungary want asylum seekers to be deported to an African partner country regardless of where they come from, Berlin is said to want to limit this process to people who have spent time in the countries they would be exported to while their asylum application is considered.

Berlin is walking a tightrope during EU negotiations on a new migrant system as backbenchers in Olaf Scholz’s coalition worry that the purpose of the deal is to deter refugees from coming to Europe.

This week, 24 MPs from Mr Scholz’s Social Democrats and the Greens signed a letter calling for Berlin to stand up for migrant rights during the negotiations.

In light of rising refugee arrivals, Mr Scholz and Nancy Faeser, his interior minister, are determined to push through a deal.

Ms Faeser warned of the costs of failure ahead of the talks.

« If we fail today or in the next fourteen days, it would be a bad signal that would lead to countries isolating themselves. I don’t want that, I want to keep the borders open, » she said.

« For us in Germany, human rights standards are at the forefront, and I will fight hard for that today, » she added.

The Social Democrats, the largest party in a three-way coalition with the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats, are prepared to back changes that would see migrants being detained at the EU’s external borders.

The number of asylum applications in Germany this year has already reached 130,000 and local governments are saying that they have run out of capacity to house the new arrivals.

In May, Mr Scholz announced that he would break with the liberal policies he inherited from Angela Merkel and seek to cut numbers using tighter border controls and more money for Frontex, the EU’s border control agency

This new course has led to fears that Mr Scholz is prepared to sacrifice fair asylum processes in the name of cutting numbers.

The letter from backbenchers stated that: « We share many people’s concerns that the proposals for a new Common European Asylum System could weaken the right to asylum. »

Separately, 730 Green party members have signed a letter demanding that their leadership change course.

They said they were « shocked » by the proposals being negotiated in Brussels which aimed at creating a new system based on « deterrence and exclusion ».

Author: MANZI
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