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The German Government Says Effective Steps Needed To Protect Europe’s External Borders

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Reducing refugee numbers








Effective steps needed to protect Europe’s external borders

The German government will continue to make every effort to pursue its course on refugee policy inside and outside Germany, stressed federal government spokesperson Steffen Seibert. The aim is to achieve a common, sustainable European solution capable of tangibly reducing the numbers of refugees in all member states.

“We are still working so that Europe learns to protect its external borders effectively. We want to implement the agreements with Turkey because they offer the best way to crack down on traffickers,” said government spokesperson Steffen Seibert at the government press conference.

Federal Justice Minister Heiko Maas also sees cooperation with Turkey as a crucial step towards reducing refugee numbers. In an interview with the news magazine Der Spiegel on 12 March he said, “The crucial point is that, for the first time, Turkey is willing to readmit people. For the first time we have a chance of finding a sustainable solution to the refugee crisis. If people can expect to be returned to Turkey there is no reason to make the trip in the first place.”

At their last meeting on 7 March, the heads of state and government agreed that bold moves are needed to protect the EU’s external borders, combat irregular migration, and break the business model of human smugglers and traffickers. One key element is the willingness of Turkey to swiftly readmit all migrants entering Greece with the help of traffickers.

This coming Thursday and Friday the European Council will meet again in Brussels, in order to make decisions regarding the further development and details of the EU Action Plan agreed on 29 November. The European Council will also hold talks with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Friday to this end.

Direction taken by refugee policy inside Germany

Federal government spokesperson Steffen Seibert once again reaffirmed the stance of the German government on refugee policy inside Germany. “We stand firm on our commitment to help people who seek shelter and protection here, and who have been accepted, to integrate into our society.”

“At the same time we make it quite clear that integration is only possible within our existing legal system and on the basis of our fundamental values and our long-standing rules that regulate the way we live together,” he continued.

Return to orderly procedures

The Federal Justice Minister has called for a return to orderly procedures. Requests for asylum should once again be lodged and processed where an asylum-seeker first reaches EU territory.

Heiko Maas is certain that this will only be possible when all member states pull together. “Europe can only uphold its pledge to keep borders open, if the EU’s external borders are systematically controlled. This is the only way to return to orderly procedures. Asylum-seekers must be registered at the moment they cross the border into the EU.”

Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière supported this point of view in an interview with the newspaper Die Welt on 12 March. “We want to know who is entering the Schengen Area and when they leave it again. We are working on this. And we want all asylum-seekers to be registered. We now have this under control.”

[Migrants arrived in Italy by boat, 1997-2015]

Improving the situation of refugees in Greece

Current conditions at the Greek-Macedonian border are dreadful, said Heiko Mass. This must be an incentive “to pool forces in the EU in order to improve conditions for refugees in Greece”.

Heiko Maas also pointed out once again that Germany is the EU member state that has been doing most for months to urge a humanitarian and European response to the refugee issue.

{Source: The Federal Government of Germany}

[Photo credits-featured image: Working visit of Minister Sebastian Kurz in Macedonia. Visit the refugees at the border crossing Gevgelija. Macedonia, 24/08/2015, photo: Dragan Tatic – By Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äusseres (Arbeitsbesuch Mazedonien) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons]

[intext photos: inserted by (credits embedded)] ]




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