Over-hasty policy makes for poor diplomatic outcomes. Germany is being forced to re-learn that fundamental maxim as it struggles to cope with a migrant invasion sparked by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s surprise announcement last month that the country would welcome any and all refugees from Syria.
As Breitbart London reported yesterday, Berlin has added Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro to a list of so-called safe countries, so migrants from those states can be swiftly repatriated to free up space for refugees from the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.
Now it is introducing a raft of other measures designed to say ‘no’ to economic opportunists entering the country from neighbouring East European countries.
Germany’s previous open-door policy to Syrians sparked an unintended flood of migrants keen to take advantage of its perceived offer to receive anyone who simply turned up on its doorstep claiming to be “refugees”.
The decision to tighten controls comes as the number of people crossing the Mediterranean for Europe shows no signs of abating, with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) saying that 515,000 arrived so far this year.
About half are escaping Syria’s civil war, which topped the agenda of the UN General Assembly in New York this week, and where Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is due to hold a meeting on the refugee crisis later today.
The Local reports Germany has committed billions of euros to helping asylum seekers. Over the past four days between 8,000 and 10,000 migrants from the Middle East, Afghanistan, Africa and south-eastern Europe have arrived daily, according to Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière.
“We want to send a clear signal to those (who are not fleeing war), don’t come here, you have no chance, you will have to leave our country,” Maiziere said.
On Monday German President Joachim Gauck foreshadowed the move when he said the country’s “absorption capacity is limited, even if it has not yet been decided where these limits lie.”
As part of its new tougher policy, Berlin is reducing payouts to migrants and seeking to distribute benefits in kind rather than in cash to refugees. The DW news service reports that inside Germany regional governments are pushing Angela Merkel hard to refine a plan that took everyone by surprise.
The Council for Migration, an association of more than 100 migration experts based in Germany, sharply criticized the government’s open door policy on Tuesday and highlighted the social divides opening up in the country.
Werner Schiffauer, a cultural and social anthropologist and chairman of the council, said they continue a policy trend based on deterrence and separation. He said the migration crisis should be seen as both a challenge and an opportunity to revise fundamentally the foundation of Europe’s asylum policies.
Instead, Schiffauer argued, the proposed policies are continuing the restrictive path they’ve been on for recent years. He railed against the concept of “safe countries” of origin, arguing they will do little to deter illegal migration.
As reported by DW, Schiffauer also critized lengthening the stay of asylum seekers in refugee processing centres by several months, describing them as noisy and chaotic, adding “families will go crazy in those facilities.”
The Council for Migration has released a 10-point program for revamping the continent’s approach to migration, including suspending the Dublin system, waiving cases for refugees from war-zone countries like Syria and Iraq, and opening up more legal avenues to immigrate to Europe.
Those with a good chance of receiving asylum would also receive integration classes, according to the new measures which the German parliament will debate from Thursday before, pending approval, they enter into force on November 1.