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Germany Implements Stricter Measures for Handling Migrants Amid Rising Asylum Applications

by Rahil M
0 comment

The arrival of migrants have once again become a significant challenge for German leaders.

A set of stricter measures to address the increasing number of migrants arriving in the country were announced after extensive negotiations that extended into the early hours of Tuesday by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, along with state leaders. These measures aim to expedite asylum procedures, limit social benefits for migrants, and allocate more federal funding to local communities.

Scholz referred to the decisions as a “historic moment” for Germany, though some members of the Greens, a part of the ruling coalition, voiced concerns that cutting social benefits could lead to asylum seekers living in poverty. Julian Pahlke, the Green party’s migration expert, argued that these measures might intensify social tensions and hinder the integration of migrants.

Migrant arrivals have once again become a significant challenge for German leaders. The government faces pressure both from within its ranks and from the opposition to reduce the number of arrivals, mainly from countries like Syria, Afghanistan, and Turkey. Asylum applications in Germany increased by approximately 73% from January to September this year compared to the same period the previous year, totalling over 250,000, according to official statistics.

In response to the surge in asylum applications, Scholz described the changes as a “transition to a breathing system.” These new measures will provide more funding as the number of migrants increases, and less when the numbers decline.

Germany has seen ongoing debate regarding the best approaches to manage the increasing influx of migrants. While Scholz characterized these changes as a historic step, voices from various quarters have expressed concerns about their potential impact on social integration and human rights.

In a separate development, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni unveiled a controversial migration deal, which includes the establishment of reception centres in Albania to accommodate thousands of people arriving by sea. These plans have raised concerns among humanitarian organizations and EU insiders.

While Meloni referred to the agreement as a “model of cooperation between EU and non-EU countries,” it has drawn sharp criticism from groups like the International Rescue Committee and Médecins Sans Frontières. They argue that these measures represent a significant departure from international law and EU conventions regarding asylum.

The International Rescue Committee criticized the deal as a “further blow” to EU solidarity, describing it as “dehumanizing” and emphasizing that everyone has the fundamental right to apply for asylum, regardless of their origin or mode of arrival. Médecins Sans Frontières argued that the initiative goes beyond previous agreements, as its aim is no longer simply to discourage departures but actively to prevent people from fleeing and gaining safe access to European territory, circumventing the protection and rescue obligations set out in international law.

Sea-Watch, a rescue NGO, accused the Italian government of launching a frontal attack on international and EU asylum law, taking advantage of third countries’ desire for international recognition and their vulnerability.

EU insiders revealed that the European Commission had received only “one hour’s notice” of the deal, which could potentially process up to 36,000 people in Albania. The plan has been compared to the British government’s controversial efforts to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, which faced legal obstacles.

While the European Commission seeks more details about Italy’s plan, it has emphasized the need to ensure that any arrangement is in full compliance with EU and international law.

Germany’s introduction of stricter measures to manage the increasing number of migrants, aiming to expedite asylum procedures and limit social benefits and Italy’s plans to create asylum centres in Albania have drawn criticism from humanitarian organizations, with concerns that the measures infringe upon asylum rights and international law. Both cases reflect the challenges European countries face as they grapple with migration and seek to balance humanitarian concerns with political pressures.

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