efms Migration Report
| || || || |
committee tries to reach compromise on migration reform
In the aftermath of the
rejection of the government migration bill by the Bundesrat, the second
chamber of parliament representing state governments, migration reform is now on the
agenda of the parliamentary conference committee. At its first session, the conference
committee has set up a sub-committee with representatives of state governments and of all
parliamentary parties. The sub-committee is to be chaired by Peter Müller (CDU), the
Premier of Saarland. Work on a compromise concerning the red-green government plans for
migration reform is to be started in October.
In the preliminary stages of the
negotiations, representatives of the opposition parties CDU/CSU and FDP have expressed
scepticism as to the prospects of reaching a compromise with red-green government coalition.
Wolfgang Bosbach (CDU), speaker of the CDU/CSU parliamentary party and member of the
conference sub-committee, has expressed the view that a compromise can only be reached if
the government coalition is willing to accept "substantial amendments" of its
proposals. Reinhold Bocklet (CSU), the Bavarian State Minister for Federal Affairs, and Max
Stadler, the FDP interior policy spokesman, have both expressed scepticism by pointing out
the current difficult situation on the German labour market.
Volker Beck, secretary
of the Green parliamentary party and also a member of the conference sub-committee, has
repeated that his party is willing to enter into "reasonable negotiations". At the
same time, he has pointed out the Greens will only lend their support to a migration reform
which actually improves the current legal situation.
The opposition CDU/CSU
parties themselves, on the other hand, have still been unable to reach a consensus among
party members concerning the reform of migration and integration law. Whereas the
CDU/CSU parliamentary party has presented a list with no fewer than 138 amendments of
the red-green government bill, the state government of Lower Saxony has announced an
initiative by several CDU state interior ministers aimed at passing a new integration law only,
i.e. a separate legislative act excluding migration reform as such. However, these proposals
have already been rejected by Saarland Premier Peter Müller (CDU) and the CDU
chairwoman, Angela Merkel.
dpa 22.09.03 // Financial Times Deutschland 24.09.03 // Handelsblatt
24.09.03 // SZ 24.09.03
Court: Ban of headscarves for Muslim teachers only on the basis of "clear" state
In the so-called "headscarf debate", the Federal
Constitutional Court has ruled by a narrow majority of five to three judges that state
governments are only entitled to ban Muslim teachers from wearing a headscarf during work
at state schools if the state legislature has passed a "sufficiently clear" legal
foundation for the ban. The court ruling has been a partial success for Fereshta Ludin, a
native Afghan woman who has been living in Germany since 1987. Mrs. Ludin, who was
granted German citizenship eight years ago, had so far failed to have her appeals upheld by
state courts. She graduated from university and teacher training in the state of
Baden-Württemberg, but state authorities there have refused to employ her in public
education due to her insistence to wear a headscarf during classes, which she justified with
her religious convictions. Mrs. Ludin, who is currently teaching at a private Islamic school in
Berlin, had appealed against the decision of the Baden-Württemberg state
As Baden-Württemberg - similar to all other German states - has
not passed a respective law yet, the Constitutional Court has ruled that the state government
was not entitled to exclude the plaintiff from employment in the state education system. In
addition, the court has called on state governments and legislature to work out an
"acceptable compromise" between "inevitably conflicting"
principles: the religious freedom of teachers, the principle of religious neutrality of state
education, the educational authority of parents and the "negative religious
freedom" of pupils. According to the court, the state legislature, and not the executive
or the judiciary, has to decide the matter.
However, a minority of three judges at the
constitutional court has published a dissenting view. Emphasising the fundamental principle
of neutrality and moderation in the public sector, the three judges support a ban of
headscarves for Muslim teachers at state schools.
Subsequent to the court decision,
state governments in Bavaria, Berlin, Hesse and Lower Saxony have announced plans to
create a legal foundation for banning headscarves for teachers at state schools. The state
government of North-Rhine Westphalia, on the other hand, has denied the need for such
legislation, expressing the view that the wearing of headscarves during classes can be
permitted after individual cases have been reviewed. State governments in Hamburg and
Rhineland-Palatinate have expressed similar views. As a consequence, it seems highly
unlikely that state governments will agree on common legal regulations (Ref: 2BvR
dpa 24.09.03 // Spiegel online 24.09.03 // NZZ 25.09.03 // Welt
26.09.03 // Focus 29.09.03 // Welt 30.09.03
Case", opposition parties have called for taking a tough line on non-German
After the decision of the Administrative Court in Cologne to uphold the
appeal by the Islamist leader Metin Kaplan against his deportation to Turkey, the Federal
Government is making an effort to remove the obstacles that currently rule out the
deportation of Mr. Kaplan. In order to achieve this aim, Federal Interior Minister Otto Schily
(SPD) has met his Turkish counterpart, Abdulkadir Aksu, and the Turkish Minister of Justice,
Cemil Cicek, for talks aiming at a guarantee that Mr. Kaplan, after his return to Turkey, will
face a trial which observes human rights and is in accordance with the rule of law. Both
Turkish ministers have assured that the treason trial Mr. Kaplan will probably face after his
return to Turkey will not be based on evidence which has been obtained by unlawful means,
above all torture.
Meanwhile, the "Kaplan case" has triggered a public
debate in Germany on how to deal with criminal offenders with a non-German citizenship.
Wolfgang Bosbach (CDU), deputy speaker of the CDU/CSU parliamentary party, has
demanded that legal regulations foreigners be tightened in order to allow the deportation of
non-German offenders in more cases. Under current law, non-German offenders can only be
deported if they have received a three-year prison sentence at least. In Mr. Bosbach's view,
deportations should in future also be possible for prison sentences of at least one year.
Günther Beckstein (CSU), the Bavarian Interior Minister, has demanded that
non-German offenders who have already received an official order to leave the country
should be consistently deported to their home countries immediately after receiving a prison
sentence; in theses cases of deportation it has to be guaranteed, according to Mr. Beckstein,
that the perpetrator's country of origin will carry out the prison sentence. In addition, Mr.
Beckstein has suggested that third countries could be persuaded by means of financial
contributions to take in non-German offenders. A spokesperson of the Federal Ministry of the
Interior, however, has made it clear that the Federal Government will not pay any such
contributions to third countries.
Welt am Sonntag 31.08.03 // dpa 15.09.03 // dpa 17.09.03 // SZ
17.09.03 // Press statement Bayerisches Staatsministerium 19.09.03 // NN 20.09.03 // SZ
Court rules on language requirements for Spätaussiedler (ethnic German
The Federal Administrative Court (BVerwG) in Leipzig
has ruled in detail on the language requirements for ethnic German immigrants. Under the
Federal Displaced Persons Act (Bundesvertriebenengesetz), ethnic German
immigrants (Spätaussiedler) are required to provide proof of their
German language skills before entering Germany. According to the court ruling, hesitant
answers or grammatical errors are not sufficient for rejecting the applications of ethnic
German immigrants. The main requirement for being admitted is that applicants are able to
engage in "reasonably fluent" conversation about "everyday situations and
needs" and talk about straightforward family, domestic or work topics.
court decision has upheld an appeal by an ethnic German woman from Kazakhstan, whose
application for migrating to Germany had been rejected by the authorities because of her
insufficient German language skills. In the respective interview on her application, the
woman had failed to understand all the questions posed to her immediately, and had answered
in sentences that were partly grammatically incorrect. According to the Leipzig judges,
however, the authorities have failed to take into consideration that the topic being discussed
was not easy, and that therefore it could not have been expected that the woman understands
all the questions immediately (BVerwG 5 C 33.02 and 5 C 11.03).
Press Statement BVerwG 04.09.03 // SZ 05.09.03
September 2003, a total of 4,418 persons have submitted a petition for political asylum in
Germany, an increase by 24.5 % (870 persons) over the previous month, but a significant
decrease by 29.7 % (- 1,868 persons) over September 2002. During the first nine months of
the year 2003, the total number of asylum petitions has decreased by 28.0 %, in comparison
to the same period last year.
In September 2003, applicants' main countries of origin were
Turkey (513), the Russian Federation (474), Serbia and Montenegro (416), Vietnam (204),
Iran (198) and Iraq (192). A striking fact is the considerable increase in applicants from the
Russian Federation: Whereas only 231 Russian nationals submitted asylum petitions in
August 2003, the respective figure for September rose to 474 petitions (59 % of which were
submitted by Chechens), i.e. the figure has more than doubled.
In September 2003,
the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees has passed decisions on the
applications of 8,420 persons. 100 persons (1.2 %) have been recognised as entitled to
political asylum; a further 103 persons (1.2 %) have been granted protection against
deportation according to §51 Par.1 Foreigners Act. The applications of 5,608 persons
(66.6 %) have been rejected. The remaining cases (31.0 %) have been closed for other reasons
(e.g. when administrative procedures could be ceased because applications had been
Press statement BMI 07.10.03
| || || || |