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    Federal and state governments are examining stricter asylum policy – Politics


    In the wake of strong gains by the partially right-wing extremist Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the European elections, the federal and state governments have agreed on a tougher course on migration. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and the state premiers decided on Thursday evening to pursue plans for the controversial outsourcing of asylum procedures to third countries. The federal government is now to provide concrete models and make proposals for implementation by the next meeting with the state leaders in December. “It is firmly agreed that we will continue the process,” Scholz also said in the evening. The Hessian Prime Minister Boris Rhein (CDU) spoke of a “milestone”.

    The states had previously massively increased the pressure on the federal government at their own meeting. The federal government was asked to “develop concrete models for carrying out asylum procedures in transit and third countries and, in particular, to address the necessary changes in EU regulation and national asylum law,” it said in a joint resolution. The results of the European elections were “alarming,” said Rhein, who is currently also chairman of the Conference of Minister Presidents.

    Lower Saxony's Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD), however, dampened expectations and referred to an expert report from the Federal Ministry of the Interior. The experts had “collected a whole bag full of problems,” said Weil. The vast majority of experts had warned against “embarking on this path.” The idea that a large part of the immigration problems could be “solved via third or transit countries” was wrong.

    Above all, however, the CDU-led states are demanding a radical change of course and significantly tougher asylum measures: “Those who have no right to be here are no longer allowed to come,” said North Rhine-Westphalia's Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU) in Berlin. Hundreds of millions of refugees set out worldwide every year. “That will stay,” said Wüst. “That is why we must also face difficult solutions.”

    Bavaria's Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) called for even tougher measures and demanded immediate deportations and arrest for serious criminals and dangerous individuals. The federal government should also “immediately” begin direct negotiations with the Afghan and Syrian governments about deportations – not indirectly. Anyone who wants to send a signal against extremists must act now, warned Söder.


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    The Interior Ministry also expressed doubts about the outsourcing of asylum procedures at the federal-state summit. The ministry warned in a report for the state leaders, which was sent to the South German Newspaper is facing a variety of legal and practical obstacles. For example, escape routes could shift and asylum seekers could “increasingly go into illegality”. The Rwanda model based on the British example, which provides for the outsourcing of the entire asylum procedure to third countries, would have “high financial costs” compared to little benefit because the number of people in the third country model is small.

    Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomes Malu Dreyer, Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, who announced her resignation on Wednesday. (Photo: Hannes P Albert/dpa)

    The so-called Albania model, in which Germany would relocate its asylum procedures to its own centers in third countries following the example of Italy, is also criticized in the report. If Germany were to opt for such a model, it would be complicated and expensive. In addition, the deterrent effect is questionable. Such models could at best be a “building block,” said Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) on Thursday.

    The payment card will allow you to withdraw up to 50 euros in cash

    After controversial negotiations, the state leaders also agreed on a common line on the details of the payment card for refugees. Initially, there was controversy over how much cash the cardholders were allowed to withdraw. “In the interests of uniformity,” the state leaders finally agreed on 50 euros for each adult. State governments with Green participation, such as Bremen, criticize this amount as being too low. The payment card is intended to prevent money transfers to the countries of origin, which are seen as an incentive to apply for asylum in Germany.

    However, the hours-long negotiations on Thursday revealed deep rifts even within the CDU-led federal states. In a protest note in the evening, the states of Bavaria and Saxony stated that they did not consider the summit's decisions to be sufficient. The results were “sobering,” the two states criticized in a sharp statement on the decisions. Since 2022, the states have repeatedly tried in vain to influence the federal government and demand a change in migration policy. “To date, the federal government has failed to produce any notable results,” it continued.

    In addition to asylum and migration policy, the conference also discussed the consequences of the floods that inundated large parts of southern Germany at the beginning of the month. However, the federal government and the states were unable to reach an agreement on possible compulsory insurance against flood and other natural hazards. The states had previously called on the federal government to create the basis for such compulsory insurance. Prime Minister Rhein said: “Voluntary measures will not solve the problem of insufficient insurance coverage.”

    According to the states' ideas, companies should have to offer a contract to every homeowner who wants to insure themselves against natural hazards. But both German insurers and Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) reject this. Such a requirement would make living in Germany more expensive and bureaucratic. The federal government and the states want to continue to discuss the issue, Scholz assured.

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