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efms Migration Report

June 2002

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EU summit reaches agreement on measures against illegal immigration

At the EU summit in Seville, EU heads of state and government have reached an agreement on intensifying co-operation among member states in order to better protect the EU's external borders against illegal immigration and human trafficking. To a large extent, this agreement is in accordance with the step-by-step plan outlined by the EU Commission. As early as this year, national border guard authorities are to start their co-operation, and national authorities are to set up a common EU database. Until mid-2003, plans for harmonising training standards for border guards are to be drawn up. In addition, the summit has commissioned the EU Commission to conduct a study on achieving a fairer division of labour among EU member states concerning the costs incurred by protecting EU-external borders. Agreement has also been reached on setting up, as soon as possible, a harmonised system for identifying visas. There were divergent views, on the other hand, concerning the question of whether non-EU countries turning a blind eye on human trafficking or refusing to take back refugees are to be sanctioned, e.g. by even withdrawing foreign aid. Eventually, it has been agreed upon that non-EU countries willing to co-operate will be rewarded by financial and technical aid, whereas countries refusing to co-operate will face measures "detrimental to intensifying mutual relations". However, it is to be ensured that these measures will not endanger the goals of EU foreign aid policy.

Finally, the summit has emphatically called on justice and interior ministers of EU member states to create, until June 2003, common EU standards for granting refugee status, and regulating family reunification as well as long-term residence permits for non-EU nationals. Furthermore, the EU is to pass common minimum standards for asylum procedures until the end of 2003.
FR 18.06.02 // FR 22.06.02 // Spiegel online 22.06.02 // FAZ 24.06.02 // SZ 24.06.02 // KAM-info migration 04.07.02

President Rau signs immigration bill

After reviewing it for more than two months, Federal President Johannes Rau has eventually signed the immigration bill into law. Preceding his signature he has held intensive talks both with legal scholars and representatives of the Brandenburg state government, in particular Premier Manfred Stolpe (SPD) and Interior Minister Jörg Schönbohm (CDU), who had not cast a unanimous vote when the bill was passed by the Bundesrat, the second chamber of the federal parliament. Their voting behaviour has triggered heated arguments among political parties.

Now that Mr. Rau has signed it, the immigration law can take effect, as planned, as of 1st January 2003. The Federal President has stated that he has decided to sign the bill as no "obvious and apparent violation of the constitution" has occurred; however, he said he would consider it "desirable" if the Federal Constitutional Court had the final say in the matter. In addition, Mr. Rau criticised the behaviour of all politicians involved in the Bundesrat voting dispute, especially Mr. Stolpe and Mr. Schönbohm, whose behaviour he called "detrimental to the reputation" of state and politics.

Whereas representatives of the red-green government coalition have expressed their wholehearted support for Mr. Rau's decision to sign the immigration bill, views among opposition parties have been divergent. Bavaria's Interior Minister Günther Beckstein (CSU), together with Wolfgang Bosbach (CDU), assistant speaker of the CDU/CSU parliamentary party, has criticised Mr. Rau's decision, whereas Edmund Stoiber, the CDU/CSU's candidate for chancellor, has welcomed Mr. Rau's statements. In particular, Mr. Stoiber has expressed the view that the statement of Mr. Rau supports the intention of the opposition to have the contentious parliamentary passage of the immigration bill reviewed by the Federal Constitutional Court.

Opposition parties have also confirmed their intention to repeal the immigration law if they win a majority in upcoming federal elections, and to generally tighten immigration law. However, such an immigration reform would probably need the support of the FDP, the CDU/CSU's most likely partner in a future government coalition. Leading FDP politicians, in particular party leader Guido Westerwelle, have already made it clear that they object to repealing the immigration law as a whole, but would be open for discussions concerning the amendment of individual provisions.

Opposition speakers Wolfgang Bosbach (CDU) and Michael Glos (CSU) have also announced plans for reviewing and reforming Germany's new nationality act, which has taken effect as of 1st January 2000. They criticise that the new law has led to a significant increase in multiple nationalities. But once again, the FDP has made it clear that it will not lend its support to these plans.
Welt 11.06.02 // SZ 12.06.02 // dpa 20.06.02 // Pressemitteilung Bundespräsidialamt 20.06.02 // FR 21.06.02 // SZ 21.06.02 // Welt 21.06.02 // Focus 24.06.02 // taz 24.06.02 // Welt 24.06.02 // FR 26.06.02 // Welt 26.06.02

Proposals for a better integration of non-German children into schools

In the public debate following the poor results German pupils have achieved in the international PISA study, one of the main topics has been German language skills of non-German children. Lower Saxony's Premier Sigmar Gabriel (SPD), for example, has called for a more equal distribution of children "from different cultural or ethnic origins" among primary schools, the goal being to avoid a percentage of more than 25% migrant children per class at primary-school level. In order to achieve this aim, Mr. Gabriel has proposed bussing migrant children to schools in other neighbourhoods.

Whereas Turkish parent and business associations have welcomed the proposals, they have also been facing criticism. Federal Education Minister Edelgard Bulmahn (SPD) as well as Marieluise Beck, the Federal Government Commissioner for Foreign Resident Affairs, have made it clear that in their view these proposals are no solution to problems which are first and foremost educational. The main priority, according to Mrs. Beck, is to foster early and in-dividual learning of both German and non-German children. In addition, some commentators have raised doubts about the feasibility of school quotas for non-German pupils.

Meanwhile, Hesse's Premier Roland Koch (CDU) has announced that in future the state of Hesse will only admit pupils to primary school if they have passed a German language test. The new regulations, which will take effect as of 1st August 2002, stipulate that children will be advised to participate in language courses if they fail in preliminary school aptitude tests. Should the language skills of these children not improve sufficiently until the beginning of the school year, it is possible to defer their admission to primary school for one year. However, the question of how to cover the resulting demand for language courses has still not been resolved.

Eva-Maria Stange, the chairwoman of the GEW teacher's union, has criticised Mr. Koch's proposals, mainly for their de-motivating effect on children. Conservative candidate for Chancellor Edmund Stoiber (CSU), on the other hand, has supported Mr. Koch's proposals, sharing his view that non-German children should only be admitted to school if they have sufficient German language skills.
FR 31.05.02 // Focus 03.06.02 // Welt 03.06.02 // FR 04.06.02 // NZ 04.06.02 // Welt 06.06.02 // Spiegel 11.06.02 // Mitteilung der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Ausländerfragen 12.06.02

Interior Ministers reject permanent residence for Kosovo minorities

Following a decision by the Conference of Interior Ministers (IMK), Romany, Serbs and other ethnic minorities from Kosovo will not be granted a permanent residence status in Germany. IMK chairman Kuno Böse (CDU) has appealed to respective migrants to return to Kosovo of their own accord, otherwise they could face deportation as early as this year. Federal Interior Minister Otto Schily (SPD) has, on the one hand, supported guidelines issued by the UN administration in Kosovo according to which no steps should be taken before municipal elections in Kosovo this autumn. On the other hand, he has also pointed out that the admission of civil-war refugees does not entail their integration into German society.

Human rights organisations, as well as Marieluise Beck (The Greens), the Federal Government Commissioner for Foreign Resident Affairs, have warned against the forced repatriation of ethnic minorities, an estimated 30,000 members of which are currently living in Germany, as their safety in Kosovo cannot be guaranteed, and their freedom of movement is restricted to KFOR protected areas only. For several weeks now, human rights and refugee organisations, together with Romany people from Kosovo, have staged demonstrations against possible expulsions.
Mitteilungen der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Ausländerfragen 04.06.02 // FR 07.06.02 // SZ 07.06.02 // FR 11.06.02 // Pressemitteilung des bayerischen Staatsministeriums des Innern 11.06.02 // SZ 11.06.02 // Spiegel 13.06.02

Inflows of Spätaussiedler (ethnic German immigrants) continue to fall during first half of 2002

Between January and June 2002, a total of 37,689 Spätaussiedler, the great majority of them coming from succession states of the former USSR, have entered Germany. This constitutes a significant decrease of 10,736 entries over the first six months of the previous year.

There are indications that this decrease will continue, as the number of submitted applications for admissions to Germany has fallen to 34,017 in the first half of 2002. During the same period of the previous year, 41,900 applications were submitted. The percentage of persons with an individual entitlement to the legal status of a Spätaussiedler has also fallen to 21.4% (compared to 24.36% during the same period of the previous year). Conversely, the percentage of accompanying family members has risen to 78.4%.
Pressemitteilung des BMI 12.07.02

Asylum statistics for June and the first half-year of 2002

In June 2002, a total of 5,664 persons has submitted applications for political asylum in Germany, a slight increase by 5.9% (318) over the previous month. Compared to June 2001, however, respective numbers have fallen by 14.3% (945). In June 2002, the main countries of origin were Turkey (737), Iraq (726) and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (507), followed by the Russian Federation (319) and Syria (268). In June 2002, the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees has processed the applications of 12,169 persons. 280 persons (2.3%) have been recognised as entitled to political asylum. A further 447 persons (3.7%) have been recognised as protected against deportation according to §51 Par.1 Foreigners Act. The applications of 7,258 persons (59.6%) have been rejected.

During the first six months of 2002, a total 36,226 of persons have submitted applications for political asylum in Germany, a decrease by 4,566 (-11.2%) over the same period of the previous year. If one compares figures for the first half year of 2002 with those for the second half year of 2001, the decrease amounts to as much as 23.7% (11,279 persons).

Between January and June 2002, the main countries of origin were Iraq (5,482 persons), Turkey (5,009) and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (3,547), followed by the Russian Federation (2,022) and Afghanistan (1,767). The most significant decrease has occurred concerning asylum seekers from Iraq, with 9,336 nationals of Iraq applying for political asylum during the first half year of 2001.

During the first six months of 2002, 1,491 persons (2.1%) have been recognised as entitled to political asylum. 3,024 persons (4.2%) have been recognised as protected against deportation. 60.7% (23,935) of all asylum applications have been rejected
Pressemitteilung BMI 08.07.02

June 2002

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