Now also Jens Spahn: In an interview with the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”, the vice-chairman of the Union parliamentary group in the Bundestag advocates that refugees who have entered the European Union irregularly should be transported to a safe non-EU third country “within 48 hours” in order to be able to complete an asylum procedure there in the event of protection being granted, to have prospects of remaining. Spahn is certain that under the conditions he has outlined, many people would no longer set off towards the European Union. The goal: deterrence. “If we do this consistently for four, six, eight weeks, then the numbers will drop dramatically,” he is certain.

This third-country solution is not a new proposal; it forms the core of the migration concept in the draft of the new CDU policy program presented last Monday. Spahn’s party colleagues as well as politicians outside the Union have brought him up again and again in the past. Spahn considers it to be compliant with the Geneva Refugee Convention. The ex-health minister emphasized that it does not say that protection from war persecution in the EU must be granted. The courts will probably have to examine whether this interpretation is legally correct.

Implementation shouldn’t be that easy anyway. The British government, for example, has been trying for years to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, East Africa, to process their applications. A planned deportation flight in June last year was stopped by the European Court of Human Rights, and the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court in London declared the government’s Rwanda plan unlawful in November 2023. The safety of those seeking protection cannot be guaranteed in Rwanda, one of the reasons given was. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is sticking to the plans.

Rwanda is also one of the partners that Spahn brought into the conversation: “Rwanda would probably be willing to do that, Ghana possibly too,” he said. Talks should also be held with Eastern European countries such as Georgia and Moldova. In addition to the legal concerns and high costs, the search for a partner is likely to prove to be one of the major difficulties in implementation. Partner states expect attractive offers to take on the challenges that Europe can no longer or does not want to shoulder. An agreement must also be of interest to the people in the partner country, said migration researcher Gerald Knaus in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. A plan along the lines of “we give countries a lot of money and then it works” doesn’t work.

Reading tip on the topic: Every year an idea comes up in German migration policy: Why not carry out asylum procedures in other EU countries? The Rwanda Model: What It Means and How It Works

Sources: “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”, “Süddeutsche Zeitung”

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