Friday

5th Mar 2021

Germany and France criticise EU migration plan

  • Syrian refugee on flight to Germany (Photo: IOM.int)

Germany and France on Monday (1 June) dealt a blow to the European Commission's plans to relocate asylum seekers in EU countries.

In a common statement, the two countries' interior ministers said they could not accept the commission's proposal in its current form.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

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

... or subscribe as a group

"The temporary relocation mechanism must be based on two equally important principles: responsibility and solidarity. We think the balance between thee two principles is not yet reached," Thomas de Maiziere and Bernard Cazeneuve said.

"Increased solidarity is only possible if all member states of first entry which are responsible for EU external borders take, with the support of the EU budget, all legal and financial necessary measures to reinforce external borders," they added.

On 27 May, migration commissioner Dmitri Avramopoulos unveiled a plan to relocate 40,000 Eritrean and Syrian asylum seekers in EU countries over a two-year period.


Under the plans, asylum seekers would be distributed to member states according to a key taking into account factors such as national wealth or unemployment rates.

Germany and France would be asked to accept, respectively, 8,763 and 6,752 people.

The plan is to be discussed by EU interior ministers mid-June and EU leaders at their summit on 25 June.

The EU commission downplayed the statement, saying it welcomed the fact that Germany and France take a common position on the issue.

"We are not surprised at all that member states want to discuss the repartition key," Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud said at the daily press briefing.

"We are open to discussion. We're waiting for the ministers' meeting on 15 June to discuss the different elements in the proposal," she said, adding that if ministers do not agree on the plan it will not be implemented on 1 July as announced.

Berlin and Paris say they are ready to consider the commission's proposal if relocation remains a "temporary and exeptional" mechanism and if the repartition key is "agreed and fair".

They ask that asylum applications are examined in "hotspots" established in countries of first entry and that "illegal migrants are quickly sent back or sent away".

This procedure is part of the Commission's plan but France and Germany insist that current rules should not be changed.

"Member states, the EU asylum support office, Frontex and the European commission must support implementation of this process through concret measures, fully using the existing legal framework," de Maiziere and Cazeneuve wrote.

Germany and France, with Sweden, Italy and Hungary "share 75 percent of asylum applications", the two ministers noted in their statement.

"This situation is not sustainable anymore," they said.

They also said that the current rules, under which states where migrants first enter the EU must process the asylum application, should "continue to prevail".

Countries like Italy, Greece and Malta, where most of the migrants arrive by boat, have asked for "burden sharing" and a revision of the so-called Dublin regulation.

"We are strongly attached [to the Dublin regulation], because it is an essential element of the balance of the Schengen area without internal borders," the German and French ministers said.

EU to pay member states to take asylum seekers

The EU commission wants to pay member states €6,000 for every asylum seeker they take under a new relocation scheme to help Italy and Greece cope with demands.

Frontex chief: 'about time' MEPs probe his agency

Some 14 MEPs have created a group to probe allegations of rights abuse by the EU's border agency Frontex. Its head, Fabrice Leggeri, welcomed its creation and said it "is about time".

Romania denies forcing migrant-boat back to Turkish waters

Romania's ministry of internal affairs wrote to Frontex claiming it did not engage in any illegal pushbacks of people on rubber boats into Turkish territorial waters. The country says it followed EU engagement rules and Greek orders.

Feature

Covid-hit homeless find Xmas relief at Brussels food centre

The Kamiano food distribution centre in Brussels is expecting 20 people every half hour on Christmas Day. For many, Kamiano is also more than that - a support system for those made homeless or impoverished.

Top court finds Hungary and Poland broke EU rules

EU tribunal said Hungary's legislation made it "virtually impossible" to make an asylum application. Restricting access to international protection procedure is a violation of EU rules.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  3. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!

Latest News

  1. China and Russia abusing corona for geopolitics, Lithuania says
  2. Worries on Europe's infection surge, after six-week drop
  3. EU wants large firms to report on gender pay-gap or face fines
  4. EU Commission cannot hold Frontex to account
  5. Orbán leaves EPP group - the beginning of a long endgame
  6. 'Corporate due diligence'? - a reality check before EP votes
  7. Austrian ex-minister joins list of EU's pro-Kremlin lobbyists
  8. Internal Frontex probe to deliver final report this week

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us