9th Apr 2020

Germany gets its way on immigration policy

Last minute changes to the draft EU constitution have seen Germany get its wish for immigration policy to remain in the hands of the member states.

The Convention's steering committee bowed to pressure from Berlin where the Social Democrat coalition government is fighting with the opposition Christian Democrats (CDU) over the issue.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The CDU, which holds a majority in the Bundesrat or upper house, had heavily criticised the previous draft, which it considered as giving too much power to the EU on immigration.

Now the revised text says that the article on immigration policy shall not affect the rights of each member state to set the number of immigrants coming from third countries.

This is a substantial win for the centre right opposition. When asked whether the changes made had anything to do with German domestic politics, the convention spokesman replied: "Ask the question to Mr Stoiber". Edmund Stoiber is leader of the CDU's sister party in Bavaria.

Germany's turn around on the issue came very late in the day. At the beginning of June Joschka Fischer, foreign minister and government representative in the Convention, first concretely aired the reversal on immigration policy.

On Friday (4 July) at the last plenary session, he reiterated the call. A general shift to qualified majority voting in the area "would be unfeasible", he said.

The steering committee did not make any changes to the areas of fiscal policy and common foreign and security policy - here, as before, the power remains in the hands of the Member States.

The Convention plenary as a whole will meet on Wednesday (9 July) at 3pm to discuss the latest changes to the text.

Thursday will be left for signatures of the final document and a final 'family photo' of the 105-member convention who have been working on the text for the last 16 months.

Convention president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing will then hand over the final draft treaty to the Italian presidency on 18 July in Rome.

Rome pushes for immigration quotas

Italy’s interior minister Giuseppe Pisanu reiterated the wish to have European quotas on the number of immigrants coming from third countries. But the majority of EU countries want to leave this issue in their hands.

News in Brief

  1. EU injunction blocks Polish judicial tribunal
  2. EU's science chief resigns over 'disappointing' Covid-19 action
  3. EU urged to help abused women under lockdown
  4. Luxembourg to take 12 Greece-based refugees
  5. Thirteen EPP national groups call for suspending Fidesz
  6. WhatsApp imposes restriction on message forwarding
  7. EU military operations continue despite virus
  8. EU to ask firms to hedge against future pandemics

Polish 'LGBTI-free zones' not ok, says EU commission

The European Commissioner for equality Helena Dalli has said the distribution of 'LGBTI-free zones' stickers or the adoption of anti-LGBTI resolutions cannot be allowed. Some 86 towns in Poland have so far declared themselves 'LGBTI-free zones'.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us