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Scholz at the Kirchentag: "Finally, finally" a solidarity-based system for the distribution of refugees

Photo: IMAGO/Thomas Lohnes / IMAGO/epd

At the Protestant Church Congress in Nuremberg, Olaf Scholz backed the reform of the European asylum rules, which was particularly controversial among the Green coalition partner. It is necessary to stop countries pointing the finger at others and not feeling responsible, said the Federal Chancellor.

"That's why the agreement is that we establish a solidarity mechanism," said the SPD politician. A system of solidarity for the distribution of refugees in Europe must be established "finally, finally". Scholz promised faster asylum procedures and more digitization in the processes. We have to be able to send back people who cannot stay in Europe.

The EU interior ministers voted on Thursday in Luxembourg with a sufficiently large majority for a comprehensive reform. In particular, there are plans for a much tougher approach to migrants with no prospect of staying. In the future, for example, people arriving from countries considered safe will be placed in strictly controlled reception facilities under detention-like conditions 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 returned immediately.

How does Baerbock react at the Kirchentag?

In the negotiations, the German government had advocated that families with children be exempted from the so-called border procedures. In order to make the breakthrough possible, she ultimately had to accept that this could be possible after all. It is conceivable, however, that the EU Parliament will still push through changes. It has a say in the reform and will negotiate the project with representatives of EU countries in the coming months.

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The Greens are deeply divided over the agreement reached by EU countries. Especially at the grassroots, but also among party leader Ricarda Lang, the outrage is great that the red-green-yellow federal government agreed to the reform plans. Accordingly, it is eagerly awaited whether and, if so, how Annalena Baerbock will respond to the compromise. Because of the decision, the Green foreign minister had ended a trip to South America prematurely this week – and is to appear in the evening at the traditionally humanitarian-oriented Kirchentag.

Green Party leader Omid Nouripour defended the approval, but is counting on improvements. He said on Friday evening on ZDF's "heute journal": "What has been agreed is first and foremost a political agreement. It's not the law." The European Parliament will play an important role in its implementation in law and order. The Greens are not alone in their efforts to improve a number of things.

CDU politician Frei compromise does not go far enough

"As Greens in the European Parliament, we do not consider the Council's decision to be viable – both because it undermines human rights standards and does not provide any long-term practicable solutions for a sustainable common European asylum policy," said co-chair Terry Reintke of the editorial network Germany. And: "In the end, we will not support an agreement at any price."

Green MEP Erik Marquardt doubted in the ARD "Tagesthemen" that the planned reform would curb irregular migration. If there are large camps at the external borders, the conditions for migrants there will be even worse. "These poor conditions then lead to even more imbalance in Europe, that people have incentives not to register or report at the external border states at all. Rather, they will then take smugglers who may come directly to Germany." It is not clear what the planned reform will improve.

Conservative politicians, on the other hand, are not moving fast enough when it comes to measures against illegal migration. The parliamentary secretary of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, Thorsten Frei, told the "Augsburger Allgemeine": "We also need national measures to combat illegal migration, and immediately." A reform of the EU's asylum policy, according to the CDU politician, will only show its effects in two or three years. Many municipalities have reached or exceeded the limit for taking in migrants.