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Germany's Refugee Crisis

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  • Originally posted by kato View Post
    His first stop getting out of Germany was Istanbul, and we're not exactly cushy with the Turkish with regard to judicial proceedings, extradition and prisoners in general these days.
    I have to say, it's really impressive how this series of serendipitous coincidences and happenstances unfolded, which saw this man rendered back to Germany to face justice.

    Bavarian tipped to take over Germany's refugee agency BAMF

    A Bavarian official known as a "tough dog" for taking a harder line against asylum seekers is reportedly set to take over at BAMF. The agency's former head was fired on Friday over an asylum application scandal.

    Hans-Eckhard Sommer, a Bavarian ally of Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, is set to take over as head of Germany's embattled Federal Office of Migration and Refugees (BAMF), German media reported on Sunday.

    News outlet Focus Online and the DPA news agency reported the move, citing anonymous government sources. The German Interior Ministry in Berlin said it would not "speculate" about personnel decisions.

    Sommer, reportedly known as a "harte Hund" (tough dog) in government circles, is currently responsible for foreigner and asylum law at the regional Interior Ministry in the southern state of Bavaria. He favors stronger screening of refugees' possible terrorist connections and speeding up deportations of failed asylum seekers, according to Focus Online.
    Full article:

    To the south...
    Aquarius migrant rescue ship docks in Spain following rejection by Italy

    The ship Aquarius, carrying over a hundred migrants rescued at sea, has reached Spain after being rejected by Italy. The case highlights rifts in the EU over how to deal with huge numbers of people fleeing to Europe.

    The migrant rescue ship Aquarius arrived in the eastern Spanish port city of Valencia on Sunday after a long voyage through the Mediterranean forced on it after it was denied a safe harbor by Italy and Malta.

    It was carrying 106 of the 629 migrants it rescued from the Mediterranean, according to the Italian news agency Ansa.

    Earlier, the Italian coast guard ship Dattilo, carrying 274 migrants, also docked in Valencia.

    More migrants were to arrive later on a second navy ship, regional authorities said.

    The two EU countries' rejection of the migrants, who were rescued at sea while undertaking the perilous trip over the Mediterranean from Libya, has underscored deep divisions in Europe on how best to handle a recent massive influx of migrants attempting to reach the continent.

    Possible expulsions

    Spain, which declared its willingness to accept the ship on Monday, has said it would treat the migrants "totally normally" according to current EU rules.

    That could mean the expulsion of those people who do not have a legal right to claim asylum.

    "Spain cannot rule out anything," said government spokeswoman Isabel Celaa.

    Every migrant "will know if he has refugee status, if he is an economic migrant, and also, indeed, if he is guilty of certain offenses that make him liable to expulsion," she said. Spanish officials plan to do a case-by-case analysis of the migrants' requests for asylum.

    According to the Dublin Regulation, migrants can apply for asylum in the first EU country they enter. If their application is rejected, they can be returned to their country of origin if it is deemed safe by authorities.

    'Idiotic exercise'

    A rescuer on board the Aquarius has slammed the decision by Italy to send the ship on, which inflicted a further 700-nautical-mile (1,296-kilometer) trip on people who were already traumatized and in some cases injured after spending 20 hours on the open sea in overcrowded rubber dinghies.

    "We have the most vulnerable of the vulnerable on the ship right now, and instead of being taken care of and supported, they're being used ... for some idiotic exercise of political influence," Max Avis, the deputy search-and-rescue chief on the ship, told the Reuters news agency.

    More than 120 unaccompanied minors and seven pregnant women are among those who have spent days crossing the western Mediterranean, according to officials in Valencia.

    Health officials, emergency workers and psychologists were called up to be on hand at the city's marina.

    Spain announced on Saturday that it had accepted an offer from the French government to take in any migrants who want to go to France "once they have fulfilled the protocols established for their arrival."

    Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez "appreciated the cooperation of [French] President [Emmanuel] Macron and believes this is the framework of cooperation that Europe should use to respond" to the migration crisis confronting Europe, the Spanish government said in a statement.
    Full article:
    Last edited by Ironduke; 17 Jun 18,, 17:49.
    "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."


    • Originally posted by Ironduke View Post
      I have to say, it's really impressive how this series of serendipitous coincidences and happenstances unfolded, which saw this man rendered back to Germany to face justice.
      The way it was done was not without legal footfalls though, one of which is that now the Iraqi government is complaining that Germany colluded with the Kurdish Autonomous Government to kidnap one of their citizens. Pretty much every ministry immediately was "hands off" and "we didn't have anything to do with that" for that reason immediately after the arrest. The Federal Police beforehand set up a legal excuse too, namely citing the extradition of John Demjanjuk (from the US to Germany) in which the Supreme Court decided it was legal.
      Whether the "kidnapping" of Ali Bashar in this case was legal does not have any repercussions on his own case either way (German courts don't care how the accused is brought before them, same as for illegally-obtained evidence being processable), but only in whether the police officers involved face repercussions.

      There are quite a number of unresolved questions surrounding the case itself too, mostly regarding witnesses and friends of the girl. The suspect's account of the murder is that they were doing drugs together (he was dealing drugs) and at some point she threatened to call the police on him while high, upon which he strangled her.

      Let's wait until next week on whether the CSU will even remain in the government and Seehofer in power...


      • Full article:

        Italy to seize German NGO rescue ship carrying 226 migrants

        Italy is impounding a Dutch-flagged migrant rescue ship after the Netherlands denied to take responsibility for the vessel. It is operated by German NGO Mission Lifeline.

        Italy said on Thursday said it would seize and impound the migrant rescue ship Lifeline, which is carrying 226 migrants.

        The ship, operated by German NGO Mission Lifeline and flying a Dutch flag, requested the right to enter an Italian port after picking up migrants from two rubber boats in international waters off the coast of Libya.

        Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini initially denied Lifeline access to Italian ports, telling the ship to take the migrants to the Netherlands. Italy's transport minister, Danilo Toninelli, however, said it was unsafe for the 32-meter vessel to make the journey with so many people on board.

        The Netherlands denied responsibility for the boat. "They have a Dutch flag, but they are not registered in the Netherlands, and therefore are not under Dutch state flag responsibility," Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman Lennart Wegewijs said.

        Mission Lifeline shared a photo of a registration document showing its ship sailed under a Dutch flag.

        Salvini said he had contacted the Dutch ambassador about the ship's activities, adding that the migrants "will only see Italy on a postcard."

        But Toninelli, who oversees the Italian coast guard, said it would escort Lifeline "to an Italian port to conduct a probe" and to impound the ship. He added that the migrants will be transferred onto Italian coast guard boats.

        "We will assume the humanitarian generosity and responsibility to save these people and take them onto Italian coast guard ships," Toninelli said in a video posted on Facebook.
        "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."


        • Not even worth an article in the general German press.

          Top items in the mainstream media today - across the political board - are the National Education Report and Seehofer. Well, and SPON just popped up an article on the UNHCR stating that 220 people drowned between Libya and Italy in the last few days...


          • tbm3fan, there you go.

            6 countries, 12 months, Rs 26 lakh spent: Journey of an illegal migrant

            From India to the U.S. via the jungles of Guatemala: Investigation exposes route taken by human traffickers

            Viral video: Punjab youth in US cries about hardships of illegal migrants

            There are plenty of opportunities in India these days. Don't understand why they risk their life and limb for such a journey. Oh, and not to mention the money wasted.
            Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles! || Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain! || I am a far left millennial!


            • Full article:

              Germany on track to return more asylum-seekers within EU than 2017

              Germany has witnessed an apparent increase in the number of asylum seekers returned to EU member states. Under pressure to find a bloc-wide solution, the German chancellor has found support from some unlikely leaders.

              German authorities returned 4,100 asylum-seekers between January and the end of May to the EU country responsible for processing their application, according to information given in response to a parliamentary inquiry from the Left Party also seen by DW.

              If the January and May figures remain relatively constant for the rest of the year, then a total of around 10,000 would be sent back, compared to 7,102 asylum-seekers returned in 2017. More than one-third of those were returned to Italy this year.

              Under the so-called Dublin system, the EU allows for member states to transfer asylum-seekers to the country deemed responsible for deciding on their status, which is generally the first country an asylum-seeker entered the bloc.

              'Not a success story'

              But the practice of returning asylum-seekers from Germany has been criticized by some German lawmakers.

              "It is not a success story when the effectiveness of the Dublin system is on the rise again," Ulla Jelpke, lawmaker and domestic affairs spokeswoman for the Left Party, told DW.

              "On the contrary: In practice, sending people back in order to enforce the unjust distribution system leads to bad things. People are torn out of bed at night without notice, and family members are separated."

              Under pressure

              German Chancellor Angela Merkel is under pressure domestically to find a European solution to irregular migration and the question of refugees. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has called for asylum seekers to be rejected at the border if they were registered in another EU state, a policy move Merkel has resisted.

              Merkel is hoping to shore up support for resettling refugees from front-line countries such as Italy and Greece under a "solidarity-based agreement," while simultaneously increasing returns under the Dublin system. She will be meeting with other EU leaders at a summit later on Thursday to try to hash out a common solution.
              Full article:

              Angela Merkel fights for future in parliament as EU migration summit beckons

              Angela Merkel has told German MPs that the question of migration could decide the fate of the EU. The chancellor is under increasing pressure at home from her Bavarian CSU allies.

              Chancellor Angela Merkel has told the German parliament that a European arrangement to solve the problem of asylum applications has not yet been reached, and warned that conclusive solution would not be reached at this week's European Union summit.

              "We're not yet where we want to be," she said, in an unusually passionate and succinct speech to a lively chamber frequently marked by heckling from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) and applause from her own Christian Democratic Union (CDU) members.

              She said that two points of a seven-point plan being hashed out with European partners remained controversial and would need to be resolved over the next two days. One of these, she said, was the EU directive on granting and withdrawing international protection, where members still needed to find common standards for providing asylum.

              The other point of contention is the reorganization of the so-called Dublin procedures, which regulate where asylum applications have to be dealt with, and how asylum-seekers are distributed across the bloc.

              Merkel said that asylum-seekers in the EU "should not be able to choose" in which EU country they apply for asylum. "Europe has many challenges, but migration could become a question of fate," Merkel told the parliamentarians.

              With friends like these...

              If she fails to find a "European solution" to the question of how to distribute and organize asylum applications, the pressure on her at home, particularly from her conservative allies in Bavaria, the Christian Social Union (CSU), will become more difficult to manage. Should that alliance break down, there would probably have to be new elections and Merkel's chancellorship would likely be over.

              In recent weeks prominent CSU figures, particularly Bavarian State Premier Markus Söder, have complained noisily that no such EU-wide agreement has been reached in the last three years, when the initial influx of refugees, many fleeing the Syrian war, came to Germany.

              It was also notable, and remarked on by several opposition politicians, that Interior Minister Horst Seehofer did not appear at Thursday's debate. The CSU leader's asylum "master plan," which he said would reform Germany's asylum system, and contained a controversial plan to turn asylum-seekers away at the German border, triggered the political crisis that has made the chancellor wobble in recent weeks.

              His place was taken by Alexander Dobrindt, another prominent CSU figure and thorn in Merkel's side, who insisted that Germany should be able to turn asylum-seekers away at the border, even though this would violate EU law.

              Merkel countered the CSU's argument by saying it was "not true" that nothing had happened in the last three years.

              For one thing, she argued, the EU had made agreements with countries of origin to make limited migration legal, and had declared countries in the western Balkans as "safe countries of origin," which meant asylum applications from those countries could be rejected more quickly. "In exchange, we have made work permits possible for jobs that are available here, and this system works by and large very well," Merkel said.

              She also insisted that finding a solution to the underlying problem of migration would only be possible via cooperation with African countries, like the dialogue that had been sought with Turkey in the aftermath of the 2015 refugee crisis.

              AfD co-leader Alexander Gauland, who as leader of the biggest opposition party spoke first in response to the chancellor, dismissed all these carefully laid out plans, demanding only that Germany "close the borders, withdraw from all resettlement programs, and help those who really need help where they are."

              "Stop importing endless problems into our country," he said, before adding that a European solution was a dream.
              "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."


              • AfD co-leader Alexander Gauland, who as leader of the biggest opposition party spoke first in response to the chancellor

                The sequence of speeches is not determined by size of faction the way that implies. The president of the Bundestag (i.e. Schäuble) decides the order with the guideline of preferably alternating pro and contra speeches (except, explicitly, between CDU and CSU, which may not follow each other even if dissenting), in particular with regard to speeches of the government - which always "should be followed by a dissenting speech" by law - and observing the strength of factions (not parties) a bit too. Factually the whips of the factions get together and hash out an order - and allowed speech lengths - for various types of scenarios of how to discuss stuff, and the Bundestag president signs off on that if they agree. AfD basically gets the "first answer" spot because they're guaranteed to have the most dissenting opinion.

                For government declarations in parliament the agreed upon time is 90 minutes after the government speech divided into 12 speeches of 6 minutes plus some time for speaker changes and such; the order for these is: (Government) - AfD - SPD - FDP - CDU/CSU - Left - Greens - CDU/CSU - AfD - SPD - CDU/CSU - Independents - CDU/CSU.

                In many other cases the same order is used with shorter times. The default minimum currently as far as i know is a standard law discussion at 38 minutes divided into 12 speeches of 2.5 minutes plus 40-second speaker changes.
                Last edited by kato; 28 Jun 18,, 18:26.


                • Merkel probably concluded the war with Seehofer in her favour. We'll see this weekend.

                  Basically, she ran a pincer movement using Macron against the Munich-Vienna-Rome axis, isolating Seehofer on that end and - stealthily - shifting the whole refugee topic over onto his shoulders, while reinforcing her home front with targeted joint statements of industry association leaders in her favour. And media surveying actively how much competing with the CDU would destroy the CSU in Bavaria - 54% of CSU voters would vote for CDU instead if the option was available, and additionally the CDU would pilfer the smaller parties in parliament (mostly non-alternative right-wingers, i.e. FDP and Greens) to shove the CSU into a position where they'd be in direct competition numbers-wise with SPD and AfD over 2nd to 4th place.

                  As another P.S. on the above DW article:

                  It was also notable, and remarked on by several opposition politicians, that Interior Minister Horst Seehofer did not appear at Thursday's debate. [...] His place was taken by Alexander Dobrindt, another prominent CSU figure and thorn in Merkel's side, who insisted that Germany should be able to turn asylum-seekers away at the border, even though this would violate EU law.

                  It wasn't notable that Seehofer didn't speak - after all he would have had to speak in favour of the government declaration. What was notable was that Seehofer did not take his place on the government bench during the declaration and the debate, where he should be as a minister.


                  • Full article:

                    Germany's migrant crisis: SPD presents 5-point plan ahead of big decision

                    On Sunday evening, Chancellor Angela Merkel hopes to reach agreement with rebellious Bavaria conservatives over migrant policy. But Social Democrats have also chimed in with a wish list of their own on the issue.

                    Angela Merkel's conservative CDU and its Bavarian sister party the CSU meet separately early on Sunday evening to discuss the agreements on migration she hammered out with EU partners late last week. If all goes well for the chancellor, it could mean the end of the impasse between the two conservative parties that threatened to bring down her government.

                    Amidst all the internecine fighting among conservatives, it has been easy to forget that there is also a third party involved: the Social Democrats. So the SPD took advantage of a rare gap in the headlines about the CDU-CSU quarrel to leak a five-point plan spelling out what it wants to see happen on the migrant issue. That document calls for
                    • more to be done to combat the reasons why people flee their home countries
                    • no unilateral action to turn people away at national borders within the EU
                    • more help for Italy and Greece, the two EU countries where migrants crossing the Mediterranean most frequently end up
                    • tighter controls of the EU's external borders
                    • a comprehensive German law governing immigration to the country and the German job market

                    The second point in particular can be read as a warning shot across the bow of the CSU, whose leaders have proposed Germany take unilateral action to turn away migrants if those people have been registered in another EU country. "Spiegel" magazine quotes that Social Democratic plan as saying the party wants a "Europe-wide solution" and a "European asylum system and fairly shared distribution of responsibilities in accepting and providing for refugees."

                    The party executive is expected to approve the plan on Monday, by which point most observers think the worst of the conservative in-fighting on the issue could be over. But if this governmental crisis has taught the public anything, it's that nothing is certain when the emotional charged issue of migrants is on the line.
                    "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."


                    • Press conference by Seehofer is currently scheduled for 9 pm (in an hour).

                      The CSU meeting seems to have split into two camps - one is Seehofer's camp supported by Bavarian prime minister Söder and former CSU leader Edmund Stoiber; the other is lead by European People Party leader Weber supported by federal Minister of Development Müller and former CSU leader Erwin Huber. Huber and Stoiber are Seehofer's immediate predecessors as CSU leaders, and apparently got into something like a shouting match at the meeting...

                      (note: all links above to English wikipedia)
                      Last edited by kato; 01 Jul 18,, 19:11.


                      • Press conference postponed again to 11 pm.
                        Was originally planned for 6 pm...


                        • Pretty much as expected. Press conference was cancelled, short statement from Seehofer at 1:10 AM.

                          Seehofer has announced that subject to talks with the CDU failing he will step down as Minister of the Interior. Apparently it was mostly the CSU Bundestag whip Alexander Dobrindt that convinced him to not just step down immediately.

                          CDU didn't wait for him and at some point shortly before 1 AM decided to continue their discussions tomorrow morning.


                          • Re: Germany's Refugee Crisis

                            Last edited by m a x; 04 Jul 18,, 16:35.


                            • Recap so far:

                              - During CSU session compromise was presented by the Interior Spokesman of the state CSU
                              - Seehofer refused that during the session, trying to force the present CSU members to support his position, culminating in the statement that he'd step down
                              - Seehofer then went on on Monday to broker exactly that compromise that he previously refused with the CDU.
                              - Now CDU and CSU have to jointly try to coerce the SPD into supporting that (this evening)... which won't be easy given the SPD has already spoken out against it.
                              - Within CDU second rank members (state governments etc) the compromise is being criticized (due to Merkel agreeing to it on her own), Seehofer is being called a lunatic (in dialect, which makes it okay) and there's calls for Merkel to replace him.

                              The compromise is pretty nebulous and contains three items:
                              - "a new 'border regime' on the German-Austrian border ensuring that asylum seekers for whom other EU countries are responsible will be hindered from entering the country"
                              - "on the border, 'transit centers' will be built for the purpose of refoulement of asylum seekers on the basis of not entering the country, based upon yet-to-be-negotiated bilateral treaties with neighboring countries"
                              - "in those cases where countries refuse such treaties, refoulement on the German-Austrian border shall occur based on a treaty with Austria"

                              The above sounds... harsh, but it's actually pretty simple from the Merkel side: Neighboring countries, in particular Austria, will not sign such treaties. Hence item 2 and 3 are non-starters. Item 1 is pretty much just a technical thing. Equipping police on the border with direct access to Dublin databases.

                              Item 2, which is probably the most criticized - they're calling them concentration camps on twitter right now - is factually just transferring the current "airport regulation" to the border btw. The last time CDU and CSU tried that was in 2015, SPD soundly rejected it.


                              • Originally posted by kato View Post
                                There are quite a number of unresolved questions surrounding the case itself too, mostly regarding witnesses and friends of the girl.
                                Main witness (14 yo boy) is now in jail himself charged with two counts of rape - alongside the suspect. The victim in that case - 11 yo girl - previously refused to talk to the police or accuse either of them.