Germany 'wants EU to adopt 'Rwanda-style' migrant system

Germany ‘wants EU to adopt ‘Rwanda-style’ migrant system with asylum seekers deported – similar to Britain’s proposed scheme’

  • Germany is playing a ‘leading role’ in advocating for a deal with a non-EU state, Die Welt newspaper reported  
  • It reported that Rwanda and Niger are being considered as partner countries

Germany reportedly wants the EU to adopt a Rwanda-style migrant system with asylum seekers being deported – similar to Britain’s proposed scheme.

Germany is playing a ‘leading role’ in advocating for a deal with a non-EU state to filter out migrants who do not have much chance of being granted asylum, Die Welt newspaper reported.

Rwanda and Niger are both being considered as partner countries and would be compensated financially for the deal, according to the report.

While Austria and Hungary want asylum seekers to be deported to an African partner country regardless of the country that they came from, Germany is said to want to restrict this process to people who have spent time in the nations they would be exported to, while their application is weighed up.

Backbenchers in the coalition fear that the deal is aimed at deterring refugees from coming to Europe.

Pictured: Olaf Scholz (File photo). This week, 24 MPs from Scholz’s Social Democrats and the Greens signed a letter urging Berlin to stand up for the rights of migrant during the negotiations

This week, 24 MPs from Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats and the Greens signed a letter urging Berlin to stand up for the rights of migrants during the negotiations.

Scholz and interior minister Nancy Faeser are determined to push through a deal, given the increasing numbers of refugee arrivals.

Faeser said: ‘If we fail today or in the next 14 days, it would be a bad signal that would lead to countries isolating themselves. I don’t want that, I want to keep the borders open.’

‘For us in Germany human rights standards are at the forefront, and I will fight hard for that today,’ she added.

The Social Democrats, the biggest party in the coalition with the Greens and Free Democrats, are prepared to put their weight behind changes that would see migrants being detained at the EU’s external borders.

The number of asylum applications in Germany this year has already hit 130,000 and local governments say they have run out of space to hold the new arrivals.

In May, Scholz announced that he would break with the liberal policies he inherited from Angela Merkel and look to reduce numbers using tighter border controls and more money for Frontex, the EU’s border control agency. 

This has led to worries that Scholz could shun fair asylum processes in order to reduce numbers.

The letter from backbenchers stated: ‘We share many people’s concerns that the proposals for a new Common European Asylum System could weaken the right to asylum.’

Separately, 730 Green party members have signed a letter demanding that their leadership change direction.

They said that they were ‘shocked’ by the proposals being negotiated in Brussels, which aim to put in place a new system based on ‘deterrence and exclusion’.

Pictured: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser speak on May 10, 2023 in Berlin, prior to a summit of Scholz with state leaders focusing on the country’s refugee policy

In the UK, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has ordered ministers to begin migrant deportation flights to Rwanda within days of the scheme clearings its legal hurdles.

In a highly unusual move, Sunak has established a Covid-style Cabinet committee to ensure that the Rwanda scheme can ‘hit the ground running’ immediately.

The committee, which has been in place for a month, is already meeting twice a week to ensure there are no barriers to deportation flights beginning as soon as the Illegal Migration Bill clears Parliament, probably in September.

One Cabinet source described the preparations for the first flight as ‘extraordinary’.

‘No stone is being left unturned to make sure this goes smoothly,’ the source said. ‘There is really no precedent for a Prime Minister to lead a committee of this sort on the implementation of a Bill has that has not even passed.

‘That legislation will effectively ban Channel crossings. The expectation is it will pass in September and you will see flights beginning within days.

‘People arriving on small boats will be detained on barges for a day or so and then put on a plane to Rwanda or another safe country. Some of them may not even set foot on land.

‘To do that we have to have everything in place – the accommodation, the transport, the legal advice. All of that is underway now to make sure things can happen immediately.

‘As soon as you start getting the first flights to Rwanda you will start to see a deterrent effect. Officials won’t accept it – ministers have had to push this all the way – but the PM is convinced.’

The Court of Appeal is expected to rule this month on legal challenges to the scheme, after the High Court ruled in December that it is lawful.

A Home Office source confirmed the scheme will not begin until all legal appeals in the UK have been exhausted.

The PM has suggested he is willing to use the Parliament Act to overrule the Lords, but this would delay the legislation until next year. 

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