Deadly Borders and Human Rights Is a Humane EU Border & refugee policy possible?

27 May 2022, 15-17

Executive Summary

Is a Humane EU Border & refugee policy possible? Does Denmark offer new answers? Does Germany, in its new coalition treaty? Today, pushbacks are taking place on the Greek border to Turkey, the Croatian border to Bosnia and the Polish border to Belarus. EU governments seeking to control their borders cooperate with Libyan militias. And thousands drown every year.  Can Denmark and proposals on processing asylum in third countries offer an alternative? Are there similar ideas in the German coalition programme?  And does the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War and temporary protection for millions of Ukrainians in the EU change the debate? Should it? We discussed these questions with citizens and with Kaare Dybvad Bek, Danish Immigration and Integration Minister, Boris Pistorus, State Minister for Interior in Lower Saxony, leading SPD group drafting the German coalition agreement in the field of refugees & migration, and finally Gerald Knaus, chairman of the European Stability Initiative (ESI), a leading think tank on refugee policy that proposed the 2016 EU-Turkey statement & other third party agreements for humane control.

Panelists

  • Kaare Dybvad Bek, Danish Immigration and Integration Minister

  • Boris Pistorus, State Minister for Interior in Lower Saxony, leading SPD group drafting the German coalition agreement in the field of refugees & migration.

  • Gerald Knaus, chairman of the European Stability Initiative (ESI), a leading think tank on refugee policy that proposed the 2016 EU-Turkey statement & other third party agreements for humane control.

 

Policy Proposals

1) Create safe paths for legal migration

  • Every year Germany will need 400,000 labour migrants. 

  • In Canada they decided to take in 1 percent of their population every year as labour migrants (400,000). This is a totally different approach to what we see in Europe. The advantages of migration are bigger than the drawbacks and problems. 

  • We need a functioning European asylum system for people who need our protection.

  • We need a functioning immigration system for all the people whose qualifications we need. 

  • German coalition agreement aims to change migration policy: reduce irregular migration and increase regular migration in line with international law. It aims to create new opportunities for people who have already become a part of our society: For instance, people that have been in Germany for 5 years without committing any crimes, they get a chance. 

 

2) Create more fair and humane asylum system

  • Around Europe we have the deadliest borders in the world (thousands of people dying every year)

  • Reduce deaths at sea through cooperation with third states (e.g. EU-Turkey cooperation following the EU-Turkey statement in March 2016, which sharply reduced deaths a sea)

  • Reduce pushbacks on Greek-Turkish border; reduce torture on Croatian-Bosnian border.

  • Borders can be closed by force (e.g. Greece has sharply reduced irregular migration following the collapse of the EU-Turkey statement in February 2020 through pushbacks).