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efms Migration Report

May 2002

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EU Commission urges common surveillance of the external borders

The European Commission has renewed its efforts to intensify co-operation among EU member states to guard the EU's external borders against terrorism, organised crime and illegal immigration. The Commission's long-term goal is to create common European border guard units. In a first step, Commission proposals aim at harmonising border checks by national authorities as well as the underlying laws of EU member states. To this end, a working committee is to be set up in order to co-ordinate the work of border guard authorities of all EU member states. In addition, the Commission has proposed to share the cost of guarding the EU's external borders among all EU member states.

In principle, the Commission's proposals for gradually setting up a "European Corps of Border Guards" are in accordance with the results of a feasibility study commissioned by Italy's government.
dpa 07.05.02 // SZ 08.05.02 // FAZ 29.05.02 // Information des BMI 30.05.02

Draft for EU directive tightens family migration rules

In its draft for an EU directive on family reunification, the EU Commission has lowered the age up to which family members of non-EU residents are permitted to join their families in EU member states to twelve years. Antonio Vitorino, the EU Commissioner for Justice and the Interior, yielding to pressure from EU members, especially Germany, has thus effectively given up his original proposals, which would have allowed all minors of foreign residents to enter the EU.

In general, the draft still allows children up to 18 years to join their family in an EU country, but it also gives member states the possibility to ban family migration of children over twelve years if "respective integration criteria" have not been fulfilled. These provisions are in accordance with the new German immigration law. In addition, member states can legislate individually on whether to allow migration inflows of unmarried partners and children born out of wedlock.
Focus 27.05.02 // FR 29.05.02

Federal President continues review of immigration law

Johannes Rau, the Federal President, has still not decided on whether or not to sign the new immigration law. Under German law, the President, before signing a parliamentary bill into law, has to review if its passage has been in accordance with the constitution.

As the decisive vote in the Bundesrat, the second parliamentary chamber representing the 16 German states, has led to heated arguments between the red-green government and the conservative opposition on whether the law's passage has been in accordance with the constitution, President Rau has promised that he will carry out a thorough review of the matter. To this end, the President intends to conduct several interviews with legal scholars and politicians. He has also reiterated that he is still undecided on whether to sign the bill, even though some members of the government have already expressed their confidence in him doing so. Up to now, the Federal President has only stated that he will publish his decision together with some detailed explanations.

CDU/CSU, the main opposition parties, have stressed that they will appeal to the Federal Constitutional Court if President Rau decides to sign the bill. In addition, Edmund Stoiber (CSU), the conservative candidate for chancellor, has announced that he will tighten immigration law if he wins federal elections in September.
BZ 21.05.02 // dpa 26.05.02 // FR 27.05.02 //dpa 28.05.02 // SZ 29.05.02 // FAZ 31.05.02

Debate on deportation of ethnic minorities to Kosovo

Aid organisations and Commissioners for Foreign Resident Affairs have expressed concerns that State Interior Ministers, at their meeting in early June, could pass a decision to deport ethnic minorities to Kosovo.

According to human rights and refugee organisations, members of Serb, Romany, Ashkali and Muslim Slav minorities still face "danger to life and limb" in Kosovo. These concerns have been confirmed by representatives of the UNHCR and the UN administration in Kosovo. Even a document by KFOR peacekeepers has admitted that KFOR troops are unable to guarantee freedom of movement in Kosovo. According to the UNHCR, ethnic minorities cannot leave their respective enclaves without facing severe dangers.

At their convention in late May, Federal, State and Local Government Commissioners for Foreign Resident Affairs have expressed their support for demands by Pro Asyl and Amnesty International, calling for an extension of the protection of ethnic minorities from Kosovo against deportation, and rejecting forced repatriations.
dpa 27.05.02 // Pro Asyl 27.05.02 // FR 28.05.02 // dpa 29.05.02 // Pressemitteilung der Bundesausländerbeauftragten 29.05.02 // Pressemitteilung der Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker 29.05.02

Office for the Protection of the Constitution: slight increase in membership of non-German extremist organisations

According to data of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the membership of non-German extremist organisations has only slightly increased in 2001, from 58,800 to 59,100. The majority of these extremists are members of Islamist organisations, the largest being the Turkish "Islamic Association Milli Görüs" with 27,500 members.

In its annual report for 2001, the Federal Office points at extremist Islamistic activities outside Muslim countries, but also stresses the fact that less than one per cent of non-German residents have joined such extremist organisations in Germany. According to Heinz Fromm, the President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, supporters of Al Quaida and other extremist terror groups pose a particular danger. On presenting the annual report to the public, Federal Interior Minister Otto Schily (SPD) has also warned about the activities of non-German extremist and terrorist organisations. However, Schily has also emphasised that no evidence has been found for imminent terrorist attacks in Germany.

Among right-wing extremists, officials of the Federal Office have found indications for increasingly violent tendencies. According to Mr. Schily, both the numbers of potentially violent right-wing extremists and of neo-Nazis have increased, whereas the number criminal offences with a right-wing background have decreased significantly.
dpa 23.05.02 // FR 25.05.02 // NN 25.05.02 // SZ 25.05.02 // FAZ 29.05.02

Asylum statistics

In May 2002, a total of 5,346 persons has applied for political asylum in Germany, a decrease by 11.2% (-673) over April 2002, and by as much as 23% (-1,595) over May 2001. Thus the downward trend in application figures, compared to last year, has been continuing in May 2002. The main countries of origin continue to be Turkey (741), Iraq (628), the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (578), followed by the Russian Federation (288) and Afghanistan (230).

In May 2002, the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees has passed decisions on 11,864 asylum applications, 1.7% (204) of which have been recognised as entitled to political asylum. An additional 2.7% (317) have been recognised as protected against deportation according to .51 Par.1 Aliens Act. 57.5% of all applications (6,829 persons) have been rejected. In addition, application procedures the remaining 4,512 persons (38%) have been abandoned for other reasons.
Pressemitteilung BMI 07.06.02

May 2002

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