France and Germany have joined forces on the sensitive issue of immigration in Europe. They have recorded the referral the principle of returning migrants to the countries of entry
The French President and German Chancellor announced Tuesday to work on an agreement between several countries in the Schengen area to refoulement any asylum seeker to the state where he was first registered.
“We will work together for an intergovernmental or multi-government solution with several member states that are concerned,”Emmanuel Macron told a press conference with Angela Merkel near Berlin.
The agreement aims that asylum seekers “can be resumed as soon as possible in the country where they have been registered,” he added.
LIVE | Conférence de presse avec la Chancelière allemande Angela Merkel.https://t.co/XUdw0DPSkp
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) June 19, 2018
Strengthen border controls
Most migrants arriving in Germany or France are currently arriving from Libya via Italy, which has to register them in the EURODAC database.
Under European rules, it is the country of registration which must in principle treat their asylum case but since the migration crisis of 2015, this system is de facto not respected in order to preserve countries like Italy and Greece, the main gateways to Europe.
This question is central to the current German government crisis. And if the negotiations mentioned by Mr. Macron were to succeed, they could allow Angela Merkel to resolve it and avoid a breakup of its coalition in power for only three months.
The Chancellor has so far refused the request of her Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer, a member of a very conservative party, who wants Germany to implement without the agreement on its neighbours this regulation of return of migrants to the country of ‘Entrance.
“We are for a coordinated action, at the European level it would be the best but it is very difficult, so the cooperation of some countries must be an option too,” confirmed Merkel, while many member states, Poland and Hungary in the lead, fight the ideas of sharing the migratory burden of the Chancellor.
She also called for a “significant increase in the staff of Frontex”, the agency responsible for monitoring the EU’s external borders.
“Support of the countries most concerned”
Merkel therefore called for “support from the countries most concerned”, citing Italy in particular.
She also discussed with Mr Macron the possibility of “mechanisms” to block the arrival of economic migrants in countries of transit to the EU such as Libya. They could take the form of on-site centers in North Africa under UN control.
The Italian government, an alliance between far-right and populist, has closed its ports to NGO ships carrying wrecked migrants rescued at sea, a decision that caused the wandering of a boat loaded with 629 people for a week.
This decision also provoked a dispute between Rome and Paris, Mr Macron denouncing the “cynicism and irresponsibility of the Italian government”. It is finally Spain that will have welcomed the castaways.
Overall, according to Macron, Europe faces “a choice of civilization” in the face of anti-European and nationalist rhetoric .
Tuesday’s Franco-German meeting comes “at a moment of truth for each of our States and for our continent. It is even perhaps a choice of civilization, “said Emmanuel Macron, between on one side” those who would like to say (…) that Europe is good to unravel “and those, like him and Angela Merkel, who want to “move this Europe forward”.