The German government is still trying to find a proper refugee policy to handle the migration influx, caused by the brutal civil war in Syria and the immense poverty in Afghanistan.
German public broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, reported yesterday that the German Interior Ministry confirmed that German authorities aim to “return to orderly procedure” concerning refugees, with measures including temporary border controls and the Dublin agreement.
“Germany is currently applying the Dublin regulation for all countries of origin and all member states (except Greece)” the ministry said in an emailed statement, adding that Dublin rules has also applied to “Syrian nationals” since October 21.
According to the Dublin regulation, all refugees must return back to the EU country where they first registered. However, the main EU entry point for the refugees, is Greece but the debt-stricken country struggles to deal with the thousands of people who daily enter the country from Turkey. Greek authorities have said that the country’s infrastructure is not enough to accommodate all the refugees who entered the EU through the Greek borders.
According to Deutsche Welle, the problem with the implementation of the Dublin agreement is that the overwhelming majority of the refugees arriving to Germany have not registered in any of the EU countries during their journey to Germany and if they register in Germany then they will be allowed to stay in the richer EU country. Now, lawmakers from Merkel’s center-right CDU and its Bavarian sister party (CSU), are accusing once again the German government of inviting more refugees to stay in the country.
Just five days, ago CDU and CSU concluded a controversial refugee deal which promotes the use of “transit points” at EU borders. According to the deal, the refugees will be obliged to stay at the accommodation centres before being distributed around the European Union. After the deal, Merkel promised that in future, refugees would be registered and distributed fairly among European Union countries. The German Chancellor added that the deportations would also be sped up for those whose asylum applications failed.
Deutsche Welle reported that prior to the deal, the coalition partner of CDU, the Social Democrats SPD was critical of proposals for transit zones and migrant detention centers. However, the coalition agreement has been hailed by the center-left party as a step forward to managing the migration crisis.
Overall, the German government turns into more conservative policies to deal with the migration influx and the EU struggles to promote an effective response to the refugee crisis.
Human Rights Watch criticizes the EU
On 9 November, Benjamin Ward, Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch in Europe and Central Asia Division, stressed that the EU must find an affective policy to deal with the refugee crisis.
Ward underlined that almost 800,000 asylum seekers and migrants reached Europe by sea this year, more than 200,000 in October alone.
“With no end in sight, there are signs that Europe’s heart is hardening. Sweden, among the most generous EU states in responding to the crisis, has asked for help from other EU governments, saying it cannot accept further asylum seekers. Some in Germany’s ruling coalition are making similar arguments,” he stressed.
Many humanitarian agencies, including the HRW and the UN, underlined that as winter comes in Europe, the refugees will suffer even more and the EU must urgently do something to prevent another refugee tragedy.
“Harsh weather conditions are likely to exacerbate the suffering of the thousands of refugees and migrants landing in Greece and travelling through the Balkans, and may result in further loss of life if adequate measures are not taken urgently,” UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler stressed on November 5.