The number of migrants is increasing – the EU is about to achieve a breakthrough in refugee policy

In hardly any other area of ​​politics are demands and reality so far apart: the migration issue stirs up all nations. She allows outsiders like right-wing populist Giorgia Meloni to become Italy’s head of government. She ensured that Great Britain broke away from the European Union in hopes of limiting the influx of foreigners.

But the truth is: In all Western countries, the number of immigrants is increasing. Reality no longer seems to be within reach of the political parties.

Increase in immigration figures in the EU by 64 percent

• In Great Britain, leaving the EU has had an impact, but not as expected: three years later, migration figures are at an all-time high.

• In Germany, where the CDU and SPD jointly rejected the “upper limit” of 200,000 refugees per year demanded by CSU leader Horst Seehofer in 2016, around 1.25 million refugees (asylum seekers and Ukrainians) arrived last year. In the first four months of this year, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees received a good 100,000 initial applications for asylum, an increase of around 78 percent compared to the previous year.

• The number of asylum applications also increased significantly in the EU. Compared to the previous year, the 27 EU countries recorded an increase of 64 percent in 2022. In addition, around one million people are still waiting for their EU asylum application to be processed. So far, agreement has also not been reached on a binding European distribution system.

• Last year – this is the dark side of today’s EU migration policy – ​​at least 2500 migrants drowned at sea. This year there are already more than 980 people.

High pressure seems to increase the chance of an agreement

The good news. Under the pressure of events, the European interior ministers and also the heads of government seem to be able to agree on a common migration policy for the first time. Negotiations on the reform of the Common European Asylum System are scheduled to begin in Luxembourg today.

A proposal from the Swedish Council Presidency is on the table. Specifically, there are seven points:

1. The frontline states of the EU should assume more responsibility at the external borders of the community. Large asylum centers would be set up there, which should record all arriving migrants without exception.

2. Asylum seekers with little chance of success should be held in these asylum centers until their asylum application has been processed – for a maximum of twelve weeks – and if the application is rejected, they should be deported directly from there.

It is envisaged that the states on the external border will create a total of 30,000 places for border procedures. Since the procedure is to be limited to three months, a maximum of 120,000 applications could be processed more quickly each year. This means that living quarters for presumably thousands of people are being created behind the asylum centers.

3. Conversely, however, this means that anyone who achieves a high protection rate in the so-called screening in the asylum centers and thus has a high chance of asylum is immediately forwarded to voluntary receiving countries.

4. At the same time, the monitoring and deportation of rejected asylum seekers should be made easier. For this purpose, data would already be collected at the external borders and stored centrally. One would like to reduce the number of unenforced deportations.

EU countries that reject asylum seekers should pay in the future

5. In addition, the frontline states at the external borders should receive more support from the Community when they are faced with a particularly large rush. Countries like Greece or Italy would have to apply for this support via a solidarity mechanism, for example in Germany.

6. Anyone who has traveled to the EU border via a so-called safe third country is very unlikely to be able to assert their right to asylum because of political persecution. The criteria for such a third country are to be expanded significantly. The likelihood that an asylum seeker will pass through such a state on their way to the EU increases.

7. Those who oppose themselves, such as Poland and Hungary, and do not want to take on asylum seekers will have to pay in future. We are talking about around 20,000 euros for each asylum seeker who has not been accepted despite the obligation.

Conclusion: After years of political standstill, migration policy is now moving. The noticeable shift to the right in the European democracies is having an effect. The big popular parties are not left or right, but sensitive to pressure.

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