As stated by ALDE MEP Guy Verhofstadt, the migration crisis is not just a humanitarian emergency anymore but an ongoing “political crisis on the back of migrants”.

The latest controversy involves Angela Merkel who “was given a fresh migration crisis headache” after Austria threatened to “take measures to protect its borders” if Germany imposed restrictions on refugees as previously announced by the German chancellor. The new policy, which would see migrants entering Germany held in anchor centres and potentially sent back to other EU countries if they had already registered somewhere else, is part of a deal agreed by Angela Merkel and the CSU leader and German interior minister Horst Seehofer. The Bavarian CSU party had originally threatened to send police to the German border to turn away refugees who had indeed registered in other EU countries. The compromise policy of setting transit centres would allow asylum seekers who had already registered in a different EU country to return with the agreement of that country. However, Austria fears that such measure would make it the final destination for more migrants and create “disadvantages for Austria and its people”. Speaking at the European Parliament, the Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz called for a “paradigm shift in migration” and claimed that “a Europe without internal borders” would only be possible “in-the long term” with the appropriate reforms.

Despite a significant fall in the number of refugees and migrants reaching Europe in 2017, particularly in Germany, “the issue has rocketed up the political agenda after gains for the far-right in elections across the continent”. Far-right anti-immigration parties now dominate the political scene in governments like Italy and Austria, with populists also in charge in Eastern states like Poland and Hungary.

Gabriella Cinque

For further information:

Deursche Welle < https://www.dw.com/en/germanys-angela-merkel-strikes-conciliatory-note-on-migrants-in-bundestag-speech/a-44515465 >

Independent < https://independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/germany-migration-merkel-immigration-border-new-asylum-policy-eu-a8429286.html  >