Germany has thrown open her doors to Syria, declaring it will welcome all that country’s asylum seekers. In doing so, it has overturned a EU convention which insists that asylum seekers must register in the first country they reach.
Germany will now cease handing out forms which ask new arrivals to declare where they landed in the EU.
Under the Dublin Convention of 1990, migrants seeking asylum within the EU must usually register with the country they first enter. The system was put in place to ensure that migrants didn’t submit multiple applications in a number of member states, and is binding under law.
However, according to the Independent, yesterday the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees ratified an order suspending the protocol. “Germany will become the member state responsible for processing their claims,” a government statement said, adding that all current expulsion orders for Syrian asylum seekers would be revoked. In addition, new Syrian arrivals will no longer have to fill in forms informing the German authorities which EU member state they first entered.
In the first six months of 2015, Germany received 44,417 applications, the vast majority of which have yet to be processed. But even before yesterday’s declaration, it was expected that most of the Syrian applicants would be granted asylum.
It appears, therefore, that Germany is using the announcement as a way to persuade other EU countries to take more migrants of their own. Many of Germany’s fellow member states have been using the protocol as a legal basis for refusing to take on large numbers of migrants pouring across the borders.
Yesterday Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande met for talks over the migrant crisis. The two are set to call for common EU immigration and security policies, using the crisis to push for ever closer union between EU member states in much the same way that the Euro crisis led to calls by Hollande for a “Eurozone government”.
Berlin in particular is said to be increasingly keen to push for mandatory quotas for asylum seekers across all EU member states, despite the plan being voted down in June. Similarly, the European Commission is also to propose a new “permanent” system of migrant sharing across the union, the Guardian has reported.
The two countries are also expected to demand that the EU works faster to set up new reception centres in Italy and Greece to better cope with the huge numbers crossing the Mediterranean. Italy picked up 4,400 migrants in one day alone from a total of 20 vessels off the Libyan cost on Saturday.
Additionally, the two countries have suggested that a common EU list of “safe countries”, whose nationals will be refused asylum be drawn up in a bid to stem the flow. According to the Telegraph, they want to reduce the numbers of “economic migrants” from the Balkans who have little chance of being granted asylum and are clogging the system, to make way for “genuine” asylum seekers from Syria.