Updated September 15, 2020, 4:05 p.m.
A European solution for thousands of refugees on Lesbos is to be found. But almost nothing is happening. Germany has now made an increased offer, but Chancellor Angela Merkel sees too little help, especially from neighboring Austria.
So now the federal government is moving: instead of a maximum of 150 unaccompanied minors wants Germany also around 1,500 more migrants from the Greek islands record. As the German press agency learned on Tuesday from domestic politicians, these are families with children.
So the Chancellor has Angela Merkel (CDU) against Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) enforced. He had announced on Friday Germany of a total of 400 unaccompanied minors who are to be brought to other European countries, will only accept up to 150 young people.
After the fire in the Moria refugee camp on Lesbos more than 12,000 migrants homeless has become, for almost a week there has been discussion about how to deal with it and a possible distribution within the EU – so far without any really substantial result.
That is also due Austria. The turquoise-green government around Chancellor Sebastian Kurz does not want refugees from Moria record, tape. Kurz relies on local help. As part of an “emergency aid package” decided on Saturday, 400 fully equipped accommodations are to be sent to Greece for those affected. In addition, the foreign disaster fund is to be doubled to 50 million euros.
“We have a Christian social responsibility to help the poorest of the poor on the ground in Greece as in many other countries in the world “, Kurz is quoted in a written statement.
Merkel criticized Kurz in an internal meeting
The blocking stance of Austria – and the Netherlands – has for Merkel Incomprehension worried: Kurz and his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte would insist on financial discounts, for example on EU membership fees, and at the same time want to stay out of the distribution of refugees, Merkel said according to “Bild” newspaper said on Monday in an internal CDU presidium meeting.
She is said to have described the role of the two EU countries in European refugee policy as “not good”.
Austria and the Netherlands form within the ME part of the “thrifty four” to which Sweden and Denmark also belong. Kurz and Rutte are probably taking a tough course in refugee policy out of fear of a strong right-wing populist opposition.
Kurz has long believed that refugees would be distributed within the EU “not realistic”. In an interview with the German Press Agency at the beginning of September, he emphasized: “I believe that the distribution across Europe is not working because the majority of states are skeptical or against it.” It’s squaring the circle.
Sebastian Kurz defends himself against allegations
However, Kurz denies that Austria is doing too little. His country has so far “achieved an extremely high level” in accepting refugees.
“In 2020 alone we have already taken in 3,700 children, that is over 100 children per week. If others now boast about taking in four, twelve or 100 children, then compared to what Austria is constantly doing, that is purely symbolic politics” , the ÖVP boss repeated the opinion he had already expressed over the weekend.
The fact is: Austria was 1216 in 2019 first-time asylum seekers per million inhabitants on EU average (1279), similar to the Netherlands (1301). Germany (1716) accepted a total of 142,450 first-time asylum seekers last year – more than any other EU country. In Cyprus, Greece, Sweden or Spain, however, the ratio was sometimes much higher.
Will Merkel’s offer satisfy the SPD?
Meanwhile, the coalition made up of the Union and the SPD continues to negotiate about the admission of refugees from the Greek islands. The talks have been going on since Days in progressIt was said on Tuesday in SPD circles.
The SPD chairmen Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans had criticized Seehofer’s announcement on Friday as “unacceptable” and called for the inclusion of “a significant proportion” of the people. Esken demanded “a high four-digit amount” on Sunday evening.
According to participants, Merkel said on Monday in the CDU presidium meeting that she was with Seehofer in votes with the aim of reaching a decision by the Federal Cabinet’s meeting there Wednesday. The SPD executive board decided on Monday that Germany should offer protection to a significant proportion of those affected. It remains to be seen whether the Social Democrats will be satisfied with the new number of admissions.
Greek government officials had recently emphasized that they wanted it Prefer to care for migrants locally. A new camp could emerge under the joint leadership of the EU and Greece. The proposal to accept around 1,500 migrants had been discussed with the Greek government, but was now said by German domestic politicians. (dpa / apa / mf)
Chancellor Angela Merkel and Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer send out a signal of hope for the suffering people on the island of Lesbos. The coalition partner’s approval is still pending.