Green light for the second asylum package

Migration and asylum Green light for the second asylum package

The right for family members to follow refugees to Germany is to be suspended for a fixed period, the list of safe countries of origin extended and training for refugees promoted – these are the main points on which agreement has now been reached between Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of the other coalition parties.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and the premiers of the federal states

One outcome of the meeting between federal and state government is that deportations are to be stepped up

Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann

TFollowing this meeting, the Chancellor met with the premiers of the sixteen federal states.

he leaders of the coalition parties have agreed that the families of refugees entitled to secondary protection will not be permitted to follow them to Germany for a period of two years. By contrast, the families of refugees brought to Europe in future from the camps in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon will be permitted to follow them more easily, said Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Subsidiary protection is afforded to individuals who cannot be granted asylum or recognised as refugees, although they cannot be deported for humanitarian reasons.

Young refugees must be better integrated

The integration of young asylum-seekers is to be improved. Legal certainty is to be enhanced for refugees undergoing training and for the companies training them, and procedures are to be simplified.

The decisions taken now mean that the second asylum package can be put in front of the Cabinet very swiftly, added Angela Merkel.

These agreements supplement the asylum package II, which was agreed by the leaders of the coalition parties at a meeting on 5 November 2015.

More safe countries of origin

Over and above this, the coalition leaders have agreed to extend the list of safe countries of origin to include Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Asylum-seekers from these countries are to be returned to their home countries as swiftly as possible. The Chancellor added that a bill will be presented to the Cabinet to this end.

Coordinate and step up returns

Following her meeting with the leaders of the coalition parties, Angela Merkel met with the state premiers of the sixteen federal states at the Federal Chancellery, and presented a joint resolution.

One main element is that deportations are to be speeded up. At both national and state level, additional staff are to be recruited to the administration. There are plans to explain the option of voluntary repatriation more clearly to asylum-seekers and to make it easier for them to make use of this option.

The federal government will continue intensive negotiations on readmission agreements with major countries of origin and will work to have EU-issued laissez-passer papers accepted. "We want to integrate those who have genuine prospects of staying in Germany, but we want to return those who have no such prospects to their own countries," explained Angela Merkel.

Laissez-passer papers are issued by the EU to non-EU citizens with no travel documents. They allow holders to return voluntarily to their home country provided that country officially recognises the laissez-passer documents.

Improving cooperation

The federal and state government have requested that the federal and state coordination unit on asylum coordinate deportations, and provide advice on where urgent action is needed, in order to improve cooperation among the various bodies involved. The coordination unit is also to issue concrete recommendations for action.

Finally, added the Chancellor, there is a "broad consensus and has been an in-depth discussion" regarding the further stepping up of integration measures.

This applies in particular to the promotion of German language courses, integration courses, training, study and the labour market, as well as housing construction. A working group with representatives of federal and state governments is to produce a list of main points by the end of February and a concrete concept by the end of March.