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Germany’s Ruling SPD Open to Screening Asylum Applications in Africa

The option of sending irregular migrants back to Africa to process asylum applications should be examined as soon as possible, senior FDP lawmakers told Euractiv and Süddeutsche Zeitung last week, spurred on by similar proposals from the right-wing opposition.

While Scholz and Interior Minister Nancy Faeser – both SPD – first had reservations about the idea, SPD’s co-leader, Lars Klingbeil, confirmed on Sunday that the SPD would not oppose it.

“If [migration deals with African countries] allow for processing asylum applications there as well, then we have to consider doing this,” Klingbeil told ZDF on Sunday.

The idea is reminiscent of the UK government’s controversial plan to fly asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing, announced last year, and the German coalition had pledged to review the same proposal in its 2021 coalition agreement. But it is only now, with a surge in arrivals leading to tougher rhetoric and increased pressure on the government to tackle irregular migration, that the proposal is back on the table.

Expectations for Scholz to agree to new counter-measures at Monday’s summit with regional prime ministers are high – not least because the chancellor had previously promised close cooperation with the states and the opposition on migration.

The government must adopt a ‘package of measures’, Friedrich Merz, leader of the main opposition centre-right CDU party, told ARD television on Sunday, referring to the opposition’s catalogue of 26 demands, which include better protection of the EU’s external borders and federal support for making migrants’ benefits non-cash.

Meanwhile, the regional states and municipalities are looking for more federal money to support the accommodation of asylum applications.

Source : Euractiv