Shared challenges demand shared solutions
27 November 2023
At the invitation of her Czech counterpart Vít Rakušan, Federal Minister of the Interior and Community Nancy Faeser took part in the Visegrád conference in Szeged, Hungary. There she mustered support for striking an agreement on the Common European Asylum System.
“We have never been this close to an agreement on the Common European Asylum System. We must use this momentum now. Time is of the essence because of the European Parliament elections in June 2024. This will again mean that everyone involved must be willing to make compromises,” the Minister stressed
Core elements of this reform include:
- distributing persons seeking protection fairly and in a spirit of solidarity
- preventing irregular migration into the EU
- preventing secondary movement within the EU
- protecting the EU’s external borders
“I am working hard to achieve this, and I am very optimistic that we will succeed in bringing about this major European reform,” the Minister said.
Discussion on the current migration and security situation
Other topics discussed at the Visegrád conference, which was also attended by the ministers of the interior of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Austria, were containing irregular migration, fighting people smuggling and border protection.
In response to the rise in illegal secondary movements and the growing brutality on the part of migrant smuggling rings, several EU member states have reintroduced temporary border checks at their internal borders. To this end, Germany, too, has reinstituted temporary border checks at its borders with the Czech Republic, Poland, Austria and Switzerland.
“Violence between rival gangs of people smugglers is increasing. And they wilfully risk people’s lives. This is why we have so vigorously stepped up our response. We need to crack down on smugglers. Equally important, we need sustainable strategies for migration management in the countries of origin, transit and destination. Because this will destroy the smugglers’ business model,” Minister Faeser said.
The Federal Minister of the Interior suggested that border authorities should meet regularly. The aim is to jointly monitor the migration situation and to closely coordinate decisions on a possible continuation of checks at the internal borders.
“I believe it would also make sense to deploy Frontex forces flexibly and, if necessary, to scale them up when migration routes change,” the Minister added.
“We will be able to manage and control migration only if we do it in a European context – with a clear compass. For us, this includes acting in line with the rule of law and respecting human rights – especially in the field of migration and when it comes to protecting our external borders,” Minister Faeser stressed.
“Without the Common European Asylum System, the Schengen area is at risk”
24 March 2023
Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser and her counterparts from five EU countries urge agreement on reforming the Common European Asylum System
Nancy Faeser, Germany’s Federal Minister of the Interior and Community, welcomed her counterparts from Belgium, France, Italy and Spain as well as Sweden, the current holder of the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU, at the ministry in Berlin today to discuss unresolved issues concerning the planned reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS).
Agreement before the European elections in 2024
Federal Minister Faeser stressed the importance of swiftly resolving the remaining issues most recently at the Council of EU home affairs ministers in Brussels in early March, saying that this was the only way the CEAS reform could be adopted at European level before the next elections to the European Parliament in 2024.
Federal Minister Faeser said that every EU member state must help in reducing irregular migration within the EU, for example by registering and screening migrants at the EU’s external borders. “Without CEAS reform, which would provide for the reliable registration of migrants at the external borders, free movement within the Schengen area would be at serious risk,” she said.
The solidarity mechanism for the distribution of migrants seeking protection
The federal minister also said that EU member states facing exceptional pressure from migration must be able to count on lasting solidarity. This includes a solidarity mechanism, which is intended among other things to include provisions on the distribution of migrants seeking protection.
Under the voluntary solidarity mechanism, Germany has admitted 427 such migrants from Italy and 93 from Cyprus to date and plans to admit more.
EU Justice and Home Affairs Council agrees on common asylum policy
08 June 2023
Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser: We have demonstrated today that we Europeans act together.
“Today, we have taken historic decisions for a Common European Asylum System,” Federal Minister of the Interior and Community Nancy Faeser said following the meeting of EU home affairs ministers in Luxembourg on 8 June 2023. “And we have demonstrated that we Europeans act together – after years of deadlock and dispute.”
The European home affairs ministers met to discuss the reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) at the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Luxembourg. The negotiations focused on draft regulations developed by the current Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU on the basis of proposals made by the European Commission.
The agreement will finally enable Europe to ensure reliable and orderly migration management and to adopt a new migration policy based on more solidarity, Federal Minister Faeser said.
What has the Justice and Home Affairs Council agreed on?
Procedures for asylum seekers from countries with a low recognition rate at the EU’s external borders
In future, decisions on the status of people with very little chance of receiving protection in the EU will be taken at the EU’s external borders. People who stand no chance of being granted the right to remain in the EU would have to return from the external borders to their home countries.
“We are committed to ensuring high rule-of-law standards and consistent protection of human rights during these procedures” Federal Minister Faeser said.
“We want everyone to have access to a fair asylum procedure.”
Thanks to Germany’s initiative, unaccompanied children and young people do not have to face the border procedures and can enter the EU directly. Together with Luxembourg, Ireland and Portugal, the federal minister had worked to ensure that this rule also applied to children and young people accompanied by their parents; however, she was unable to secure the acceptance of the majority of EU member states.
“Germany will continue to advocate for this during the upcoming negotiations between the Council and the European Parliament,” Faeser explained, adding that she had made Germany’s position regarding the best possible protection of children very clear and submitted it in a protocol note.
Compulsory solidarity with heavily burdened frontline countries
The home affairs ministers also decided that solidarity with the heavily burdened member states at the EU’s external borders should no longer be voluntary but compulsory. In future, member states that refuse to take in refugees would be required to make compensation payments.
With regard to this issue, Federal Minister Faeser stated: “
All member states have a responsibility. In future, this responsibility will be distributed more equally. Solidarity with regard to the distribution of refugees is part of the overall package.”
Federal Minister Feaser explained that the Mediterranean countries in particular could only carry out asylum procedures if they knew that people would return to their countries of origin or if other EU member states would provide support in admitting them.
“In particular, we want to ensure that the terrible loss of lives in the Mediterranean Sea is finally stopped by means of regulated migration,” Federal Minister Faeser said.
Further decisions of the Justice and Home Affairs Council
In addition, the home affairs ministers agreed to reform the Dublin regulations to significantly speed up procedures and thus reduce irregular secondary movement, i.e. uncontrolled movement to other EU member states.
They also defined clear legal rules based on human rights standards to determine whether people may also be granted protection in and transferred to a safe third country.
Within the EU, common minimum standards will apply for taking in, housing and providing for persons seeking protection. The procedures for admitting people on humanitarian grounds will be harmonised across the EU.
“Migration can only be managed at European level”
Federal Minister Faeser said in Luxembourg that it was absolutely clear that no European country could manage migration on its own. That is why it was so important to make progress on the negotiations and reach an agreement, she added.
“Our position as Germany’s Federal Government was very clear: We want to save the Europe of open borders – because the Schengen system of open internal borders is indeed at risk if there are no reliable checks at the EU’s external borders,” Faeser explained.