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Camp on the Italian island of Lampedusa

Photo: Zakaria Abdelkafi / AFP

When I went to school, the subject was geography and not geography, but I wasn't particularly good at it. In the Bundeswehr, I once had to lead a squad of my peers through the pitch-gloomy Wahner Heide at night during basic training, I had the compass, we got terribly lost. And finally, it was not for nothing that "Daddy tries a shortcut!" was a shrill cry of terror from our children from the back seats of the car for years. So be it.

Last week, I am sure, many German politicians looked in the wrong direction and in the wrong place. They looked south, to Lampedusa. But in the east (somehow to the right of it, if you look from above) the music is playing.

Nevertheless, Saxony's interior minister called on the chancellor to travel to Tunisia to put a stop to the refugee crisis there. The same call to order went out to Mrs. Faeser, the part-time, full-time overwhelmed Federal Minister of the Interior. The FDP general secretary, on the other hand, pleaded for "no migrants from Italy" to be admitted, and Jens Spahn echoed: "We can't do it anymore." All in all, this sounds like a loss of control. The images from the overcrowded reception camp in Lampedusa have an effect.

However, the people who get into the boats on the Tunisian coast and off the boats off Lampedusa appear to come from African countries south of the Maghreb states. Most of them have black skin.

That's why sober figures are needed now: A good 200,000 asylum applications were filed in Germany in the first eight months of the year. Since there are many indications that things will continue at least at this pace, there will be 300,000 asylum seekers by the end of the year, Friedrich Merz even predicts up to 400,000. You don't have to be a conservative to think that's too much when a million Ukrainian war refugees have just arrived in the country. Many leftists and Greens still manage to look the other way. It's crazy.

But be careful: By the end of August, only just under 25,000 of these asylum seekers had come from all over Africa. The Turks alone submitted more applications and the Syrians two and a half times as many. Somalia is the first African state on the list of countries of origin (3539th place) with 8 applications. Then comes Eritrea, and none of the other African countries has more than 1900 applications. This is stated in the official tables of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bamf). You just have to read it.

Syrians, on the other hand, received a good 61,000 applications, an increase of 80.8 percent compared to the same period last year. There are almost 36,000 Afghans (up 81.4%). Together, this accounts for almost half of all asylum applications. Of course, after checking "entitled to asylum", (almost) no one from there is "entitled to asylum". In the case of Afghans, it was 1.16 percent of the applications, and in the case of Syrians, 0.14 percent. Nevertheless, the "overall protection rate", including the right to stay, is very high. According to Bamf, the figure for Syrians this year is 85.3 percent.

More on the subject

  • Migration crisis in Germany: Can we do it again?

  • Refugee researcher Gerald Knaus: "There is a right to asylum, but not to migration"An interview by Martin Knobbe and Marina Kormbaki

  • Migration debate: How about a bit of truth? The SPIEGEL editorial by Markus Becker

  • The fact check:These five plans are the subject of debate in migration policyBy Markus Becker, Anna Reimann and Severin Weiland

Almost three-quarters of the applicants received "subsidiary protection", which is a sufficient albeit weaker protection, which is expressly not based on the Geneva Refugee Convention, but offers temporary protection, among other things, against the dangers of an "international or internal armed conflict", vulgo: against war and civil war. For Afghans, the protection rate is 76.7 percent. Forty percent of the applicants only receive a "national ban on deportation", which is the lowest of four categories on the Bamf's protection scale.

Face it: Lampedusa is not our problem at the moment. Afghans and Syrians, as well as Turks and Russians, generally do not cross the Mediterranean to Italy. They come via Greece, some Balkan states or directly from the east.

Despite the billion-dollar refugee agreements, Turkey and Greece seem to be doing nothing but by the book, for whatever reason. Russia and Belarus, on the other hand, are making a double business out of facilitating refugees: a financial and a political one of attempted destabilization. Therefore, all movements of the parties to remedy the situation in a civilized manner are to be unreservedly praised. Whether "stationary border controls" are sufficient for this (no), the proclamation of North African countries as safe countries of origin (see above), or whether there is even a need for an amendment to the Basic Law (presumably) – that remains to be seen for today.

A new assessment of the conditions in Afghanistan and Syria, however, would be helpful in any case: Are all people there still threatened by civil war equally and throughout the country, or has a certain calm returned, which certainly does not bring a good life with it, but would nevertheless be important for the granting of "subsidiary protection" in Germany or a "national ban on deportation". Anyone who wants to avoid such considerations should say out loud what this means: Germany will forever take in almost all Syrians and Afghans who make it to us, automatically and permanently. Seriously?

P. Incidentally, 200.000 percent of the 71,5 asylum seekers are men. Among them, the group of 18-25-year-olds is by far the largest, almost 30 percent.