Fortress europe lowers drawbridge

Fortress europe lowers drawbridge

African refugees on a rescue ship © Lena Klimkeit

Europe is a fortress sealing itself off from refugees and migrants, critics often say. If this is true, the EU Commission now wants to voluntarily lower the drawbridge for a few tens of thousands of people.

The EU Commission has plans for the legal entry of at least 50.000 refugees from the Middle East and Africa presented. It concerns particularly protection-needy in particular from Libya, Egypt, Niger, Sudan, Chad and Ethiopia, which are to be brought in the next two years on safe way to Europe, as the commission explained on Wednesday in Brussels. It plans to make half a billion euros available for this purpose, or 10.000 euros per person.

The program had already been launched in principle in July, at that time with a target of 40.000 people, have been announced. The EU Commission had responded to a call from the United Nations, which is always looking for countries willing to take in refugees for resettlement. This can save refugees the often life-threatening journey organized by smugglers.

Creating incentives

The quota of legal entry points is an incentive not to try the illegal way. EU aims to dry up smugglers’ business model and steer migration in orderly direction. It was not illogical, therefore, that the commission on Wednesday also put forward recommendations for faster deportations of people who have no right of residence in the EU.

Now it’s the EU member states’ turn, because the Commission can only propose and financially support resettlement, not mandate it. So far, eleven governments have pledged a total of 14 million euros for the new program.000 places were promised, it was said; whether and how many of them Germany wants to take in, the commission could not specify.

EU resettlement program comes to an end

An EU resettlement program launched in the summer of 2015 has about 23.The program, which has helped 000 refugees enter Europe safely, is now coming to an end. The EU is also working on a general legal framework for resettlement that would make such ad hoc programs unnecessary.

Legal migration to Europe is also to be encouraged, the commission proposed Wednesday, through sponsorships by private groups and civil society organization. To this end, the authority commissioned the European Asylum Office (EASO) to conduct a pilot project.

The Commission also wants to strengthen economic migration to Europe with further pilot projects. In the run-up to this, players from the business community are supposed to indicate where workers are needed. Already now migrant workers can come legally to Europe, especially with the "Blue Card". But it is primarily a matter of the highly qualified.

Position paper of religious organizations

In a recent position paper, representatives of religious organizations urge that the influx should also be made possible for those with lower qualifications. "It is one of the central shortcomings of the EU’s policy on labor migration that it has not opened legal channels for people in lower-paid sectors," says a September statement involving, among others, the Catholic Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the EU and the Brussels office of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). Therefore, irregular migration and exploitation of migrants are very prominent in these sectors, he said.

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