Germany Seeks EU Adoption of Rwanda-Style Migrant System with Deportations, Echoing UK’s Proposed Scheme

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz

Germany is reportedly taking a leading role in advocating for the adoption of a migrant system in the European Union (EU) that mirrors the approach proposed by the United Kingdom. According to Die Welt newspaper, Germany aims to strike a deal with a non-EU state, potentially Rwanda or Niger, to facilitate the deportation of asylum seekers who have little chance of being granted asylum. In this proposed system, asylum seekers would be filtered out in partner countries before reaching EU territories. Financial compensation would be provided to the partner countries involved.

While Austria and Hungary are pushing for asylum seekers to be deported to an African partner country regardless of their point of entry into the EU, Germany seeks to restrict this process to individuals who have spent a certain period in the designated nations. The intention is to evaluate their asylum applications while they are located in these countries. However, there are concerns among coalition backbenchers that this approach may discourage refugees from seeking protection in Europe.

To address the increasing number of refugee arrivals, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Interior Minister Nancy Faeser are determined to pursue this deal. However, 24 MPs from the Social Democrats and the Greens have signed a letter urging Berlin to safeguard the rights of migrants during the negotiation process. Scholz’s government is willing to support changes that involve detaining migrants at the EU’s external borders.

Germany has already experienced a surge in asylum applications this year, reaching 130,000, and local governments claim to have run out of space to accommodate new arrivals. In a similar vein, the UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has established a Cabinet committee to ensure the swift implementation of a proposed scheme to deport migrants to Rwanda. Deportation flights are anticipated to commence shortly after the necessary legal hurdles are cleared.

While Germany seeks to explore processing asylum claims in countries outside the EU, it emphasizes a commitment to upholding human rights standards. The proposed reform to the Common European Asylum System has raised concerns among Green party members and backbenchers, who fear it may weaken the right to asylum. The German government is coordinating with other EU member states such as France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Belgium to establish a common approach to asylum.

The EU has long struggled to agree on a unified system for the reception and accommodation of asylum seekers. Various reform proposals have failed to achieve significant changes. Germany’s examination of different models, including regional disembarkation platforms, highlights the growing pressure on the country to manage high numbers of asylum seekers.