“We have decided on a fresh start in our migration policy for good reason”
20 September 2023
At the German Bundestag today, Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser and her Federal Cabinet colleague Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Federal Minister for Education, answered questions from members of the parliament.
Questions for Federal Minister Faeser largely focused on the current federal migration policy and the growing numbers of refugees. Federal Minister Faeser stressed that the governing coalition had agreed on a fresh start for its migration policy. She began the question-and-answer session by noting that more people are fleeing their home countries because of terrorism and war; at the same time, she said, Germany needs to revise its immigration policy
“so that we can be the modern country of immigration that we want to be.”
The Federal Government has taken action on almost two-thirds of the migration policy items in its coalition agreement. This includes drafting new legislation on residence opportunities, amending the Skilled Immigration Act and reforming nationality law.
“But a fresh start for migration policy also means managing migration in a more orderly way,” the federal minister emphasised.
A fresh start for migration policy
Speaking about the recent agreement of the European Union member states on their Common European Asylum System, Federal Minister Faeser described it as a major breakthrough after years of impasse and division within the EU.
“This agreement will do a great deal to prevent irregular migration,” she said. Under the reformed system, those asylum applications that have little chance of success are to be decided on at the EU’s external borders. The federal minister said that this will significantly hinder irregular migration.
She also noted that Germany’s Federal Police have increased their patrols with the help of mobile teams in many different locations along Germany’s borders.
“We are now very effective at detecting and stopping unlawful entries,” the federal minister said. Migration agreements with migrants’ countries of origin and transit are another way to fight irregular migration, she said, citing such an agreement with India as an example.
“We are close to signing an agreement with Moldova and Georgia,” the federal minister said. “This Federal Government is taking decisive action. This includes making it easier to remove those people who are required to leave the country,” she added.
In focus: Combating the smuggling of migrants
In addition to these measures, Federal Minister Faeser said she was focused on a further issue:
“We are taking decisive action to stop migrant smuggling.” According to Federal Police information, smuggling currently accounts for one of every four people entering Germany illegally. Smugglers are increasingly ruthless and brutal in dealing with the people they are smuggling and with the police officers carrying out checks.
“I want to stop this cruel exploitation of people in need,” the federal minister said. The Federal Government is currently planning to create an operations centre (OZAS BPOL) where the Federal Police will analyse and assess all cases of migrant smuggling.
“With the new centre, we will be able to spot connections between cases of smuggling so that we can link investigations or open new ones at the national or international level. And we are setting up a new task force with our neighbouring countries. My Czech counterpart agreed to this on Friday. The task force will greatly increase law enforcement pressure on migrant smugglers,” Federal Minister Faeser stated.
A complete transcript of the question-and-answer session at the German Bundestag (in German) can be found on the Website of the German Bundestag.