Germany, which expects to admit 800,000 refugees this year, gave a nod to the Swiss model last week when Chancellor Merkel’s federal government agreed with German regional administrations on distributing refugees across the country and creating a network of centers to facilitate the task.
“We are a big country”.
Migrants and refugees queue to board a train heading to Serbia near the town of Gevgelija on the border between Greece and Macedonia on September 21, 2015.
Compared with the previous quarter, the number of first time asylum applicants in the second quarter notably jumped in the Netherlands (+159 per cent), Latvia (+123 per cent), Austria (+79 per cent), Finland (+67 per cent) and Denmark (+66 per cent).
Currently, EU rules dictate that people fleeing war and persecution must apply for sanctuary in the European country where they land, not the country of their choice. Merkel had said in recent weeks that there was no upper limit to the amount of refugees Germany could accept because the right to asylum is written into the country’s Basic Law, or constitution.
Germany remains the preferred destination for the vast majority of Syrians, Afghans or Iraqis that make the gruelling journey to western Europe, said Gerry Voitik, spokesman for the Austrian Red Cross. A key focus of discussion at this week’s meetings, which is causing division amongst EU member states, will be on the relocation of asylum seekers within the EU, with the European Commission proposal to relocate a further 120,000 on the agenda.
Under the EU’s new plan, 60 percent of asylum-seekers will be moved to just three countries: Germany, France, and Spain. Most of the migrants hope to reach prosperous Germany or Sweden.
His insistence that the number of migrants coming to Germany from Syria – or at least claiming to be from Syria – isn’t effected by German government policy belies the potential pull-factor of declaring the nation open to all-comers. The contingent is part of a pledge made by Switzerland last March to accept 3,000 people under an worldwide refugee effort.
More than half of them were in Germany.
A German minister is proposing a system under which the European Union would take in a fixed number of refugees directly from crisis-hit areas, thus avoiding smugglers, then send any further asylum-seekers elsewhere. “And I believe, also for safety reasons, it is understandable that we must again return to an orderly regime and mechanism”, Merkel told reporters on Tuesday, defending the border checks. In Ireland, the 855 asylum seekers to arrive between April and June represented 185 per million inhabitants in the State.
“In future, once the deadline for people to voluntarily leave the country has passed, the date of deportation must not be announced to reduce the risk of people going into hiding”.