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efms Migration Report


June 2005

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EU Commission adopts ARGO Programme 2005

On 29 June 2005, the EU Commission adopted the "action programme for administrative cooperation in the fields of external borders, visas, asylum and immigration" for 2005 (ARGO Programme 2005). The joint projects will be funded with almost 6.7 million euros of which two million euros will be used in particular to combat illegal immigration via the Mediterranean Sea. The objective is to stop refugees in the transit countries already. Already on 2 June 2005, the EU ministers of justice and the interior had adopted a concept of the EU Commission on a closer cooperation with Libya. It is foreseen to support the set-up of an asylum system in Libya, the training of Libyan police officers and border guards and to undertake joint patrols with the participation of Libyan and European coast guards. It was made clear, however, that a requirement for such cooperation would be, that Libya respects international conventions on human rights and cooperates with the UNHCR.
FAZ 04.06.05 // NZZ 04.06.05 // SZ 29.06.05 // EU press release IP/05/812 29.06.05 // Die Welt 30.06.05

Future Schengen area to include also Switzerland

In a referendum hold on 5 June 2005, 54.6 per cent of the Swiss (polling figure: 60 per cent) voted in favour of the bilateral Association Agreements of Schengen/Dublin with the EU. According to the Swiss Council of Ministers, the Agreements are scheduled to enter into force at the beginning of 2008. Besides Norway and Iceland, Switzerland will hence be the third non-EU country to join the Agreements on justice and asylum of the EU.
Press release of the Swiss Council of Minister of 5 June 2005 // Die Welt 06.06.05

Investigation committee on visa affair to continue taking of evidence

With their majority in the investigation committee, the SPD and Green parties decided on 2 June 2005 to stop taking further evidence with immediate effect. The reason given was that the "fact finding report" on the outcomes of the investigations undertaken to date, whose preparation is prescribed by law, could not be prepared by 18 September 2005, the scheduled date for the new elections to the Bundestag (Federal Parliament). Such interim report must be presented as soon as can be foreseen that the investigation mandate cannot be performed by the end of the legislative period. The opposition parties of CDU/CSU and FDP considered the procedure as an infringement of their minority right to hear testimonies of important witnesses such as Federal Interior Minister Otto Schily (SPD). On 6 June 2005, they brought an action before the Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG). The judges of the Karlsruhe-based Court agreed with the opposition parties on 15 June 2005 by deciding that the investigation committee would have to start again the questioning of witnesses for the time being (Ref. 2 BvQ 18/05).
SZ 03.06.05 // SZ 07.06.05 // BVerfG Press Release no. 51/2005 15.06.05 // NZZ 16.06.05

New controversy on immigration

The politicians Günther Beckstein (CSU) and Wolfgang Bosbach (CDU) announced their intention to "strongly" address the topic of immigration during the Bundestag election campaign and called for a sharp limit to immigration. According to the Bavarian Interior Minister, Mr. Beckstein, the citizens would have to decide whether they wanted a policy furthering "immigration on a huge scale, as planned by great parts of the Red-Green-government" or if they wanted a policy "without immigration which focuses instead on a lavish family policy, longer working life times and constant further training, as demanded by the opposition Union parties". The statements were harshly criticised by the political parties of SPD, FDP and Greens. The former chairwoman of the Immigration Commission of the Federal government, Rita Süssmuth (CDU), said Germany would not have problems with immigration but with integration.
Welt am Sonntag 19.06.05 // FR 20.06.05 // Der Spiegel online 21.06.05 // Welt 21.06.05 // tagesspiegel online 21.06.05 // Die Welt 22.06.05

Integration commissioner: Presentation of the 6th report on the situation of foreigners

At the occasion of the presentation of the 6th report on the situation of foreigners in Germany on 23 June 2005, the integration commissioner of the Federal government, Marieluise Beck, said that there would be less foreigners and more migrants in Germany. The number of foreigners living in Germany had declined in the past years to 6.7 million, due to the number of naturalisations and the lower immigration figures. This figure, however, would not adequately reflect the social realities. More than 14 million persons (almost one out of five inhabitants) would have a migration background, regardless of possessing the German or a foreign citizenships. According to Beck, this figure comprises in addition to foreigners (6.7 million) also naturalised persons (1.8 million), ethnic German immigrants (4.5 million) and children of binational couples (1.5 million). Accordingly, every fifth marriage is binational and every fourth newborn child has at least one foreign parent. In some conurbations, 40 per cent of the youths are yet from migrant families - and this portion is rising.
Press release of the integration commissioner of the Federal government 23.06.05 // NN 24.06.05 // BZ 24.06.05

178. Conference of the Interior Ministers: new provisions for Jewish immigrants

At their conference on 23/24 June 2005, the Interior Ministers agreed on stricter rules for the admission of Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union. The new Immigration Act having entered into force on 1 January 2005 replaced the provisions of the former Quota Law. Since 1 July 2005, immigrants must prove that they have at least one Jewish parent and that they have an appropriate language proficiency. Moreover, they will be subject to a social and integration forecasting, which in particular is to take into consideration the family background. The Central Welfare Council of Jews in Germany is in charge of informing about the prospects of immigrants to be admitted to a Jewish community. Spouses and unmarried minor children are granted a settlement permit as well. Hardship clauses will be applied for victims of National Socialist persecution as well as in the case of family reunifications. The chief negotiator of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumann, welcomed that no exclusion criteria such as an age limit had been introduced. The President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Paul Spiegel, considered the new provisions a "fair compromise".
Berliner Morgenpost 25.06.05 // Die Welt 25.06.05 // Zukunft -information sheet of the Central Consistory of Jews in Germany Volume 5 no.7 29.07.05

178. Conference of the Interior Ministers: repatriation of refugees

On 23/24 June 2005, the Ministers and Senators of the Interior agreed on the repatriation of refugees to Afghanistan. Following a decision already taken in last November, the ban on deportation for Afghan refugees had already expired on 30 June 2005. Furthermore it was decided to repatriate members of minorities to Kosovo. The prerequisites for doing so were said to be fulfilled. Following the ban on deportations due to the turmoil of March 2004, the situation had eased again. The initiative of Federal Interior Minister Otto Schily to grant foreign children and youths on principle permanent residence titles on the basis of the hardship regulation did not find the support of the remaining Ministers. The party of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (Greens), charitable organisations and refugee organisations criticised the decisions taken.
Kölner Stadtanzeiger online 20.06.05 // BZ 23.06.05 // Press Release of the Integration Commissioner 24.06.05 // Press release of the Baden-Württemberg State Ministry of Interior 24.06.05 // NZ 25.06.05

Concerns about German asylum procedure

At the occasion of the World Refugee Day on 20 June 2005, the representatives of ten charitable and human rights organisations issued a memorandum calling for a reform of the German asylum system to bring it in line with the spirit of the international provisions on the protection of refugees. The asylum procedure as practised in Germany was said to be unlawful and unfair. The number of 960 recognised applicants in 2004 was considered as "outrageously" low. In an increasing number of cases, positive decisions of admission would be subsequently withdrawn: in 2004, the number of such cases had increased to 16,000 which is almost as double as much as in the previous year. The President of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), Albert Schmid, called the critics "absolutely insubstantial, sweeping and indiscriminate".
BZ 17.06.05 // NN 17.06.05 // NN 20.06.05

Employment bans on refugees

The local aliens authorities, since 1 January 2005 in charge of issuing labour permits, are withdrawing labour permits from an increasing number of refugees, who are hence forced to rely on welfare benefits from the state. According to estimates of the Munich-based refugee lawyer Hubert Heinold, the number of those affected in the Greater Munich area alone reaches some "several hundreds" and amounts in the entire state of Bavaria to about 1,000 refugees. Also the integration commissioner of the Federal government, Marieluise Beck, has registered an increasing number of such incidents. Beck criticises the stricter interpretation of the provision would be inconsistent with the all-party compromise reached in the adoption process for the Immigration Act.
SZ 07.06.05

Awards for the winners of the contest "Successful integration is not reached by coincidence - strategies of local integration policies".

On 13 June 2005, Federal Interior Minister Otto Schily (SPD) and the chairman of the Bertelsmann Foundation, Prof. Heribert Meffert, awarded the cities of Stuttgart and Solingen, the district of Hersfeld-Rotenburg as well as the town of Belm for their exemplary integration policies and handed over the prizes furnished with 50,000 euros. In addition, Schily announced to celebrate a "Integration Day" to be hold for the first time on 25 September 2005.
Press release BMI 13.06.05

Football competition of the European migration authorities

Between 1 and 3 June 2005, the 6th international football competition of the European migration authorities took place in Nuremberg under the auspices of the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). A total of 500 male and female players from 18 countries competed in more than 120 matches. Teams from France, Great Britain, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Belgium, Austria, Portugal, Hungary, Switzerland and Latvia, just to name a few, participated in the competition. Besides playing football, the objective of the three-day meeting was to deepen the cooperation between the authorities.
NN 01.06.05 // NN 06.06.05 // NN 07.06.05

Headscarf ban in Bremen

On 23 June 2005, the governing coalition of SPD and CDU adopted a headscarf ban for teachers working at Bremen schools against the votes of the Greens.
FAZ 24.06.05

Berlin: Employment centre for Turkish youths

On 28 June 2005, the so-called "Move" project was presented. This is the first time that the Turkish Association of Berlin in cooperation with other partners offers dedicated support for young and unemployed migrants. During six months, the Turkish youths will be trained for the labour market with the support of three job centres, the Youth Welfare Offices of the Berlin districts of Kreuzberg, Tempelhof, Neukölln and Schöneberg as well as the Senate"s Business Administration Office. Forty-four youths will participate in the programme, which includes traineeships, preparation courses for job interviews as well as lessons in German and mathematics.
BZ 29.06.05

ECJ criticises German expulsion procedure

According to the opinion of the Advocate-General of the European Court of Justice, Christine Stix-Hackl, the procedure to expel delinquent EU citizens despite the freedom of movement and establishment, as generally applied in southern Germany, constitutes an infringement of EU law. On 2 June 2005, she filed an application in Luxembourg, to sentence Germany for the violation of treaties. In reply to petitions numerous Italian citizens had filed against their expulsion with the European parliament and the EU Commission, the Commission had opened a proceeding for the violation of treaties in 2002 after having directed a reminder to the Federal government in July 1998 already. The decision of the ECJ is expected to be issued within the next months.
FR 03.06.05 // Communication of the European Commission no.21 09.06.05

Successful constitutional complaint of the magazine "Junge Freiheit" (Young Freedom)

In its judgement of 28 June 2005, the Federal Constitutional Court objected the mentioning of the magazine "Junge Freiheit" (Young Freedom) in the annual reports of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution of 1994 and 1995 as an infringement of the fundamental right on freedom of the press, arguing that this right protects also a forum which covers only a certain political spectrum offering a high degree of freedom for individual authors. The courts were wrong when not considering the magazine as a "marketplace of opinions" (Ref.: 1 BvR 1072/01). This judgement, however, does not put an end to the proceeding that was opened nine years ago. The judges of the Karlsruhe-based Constitutional Court now commissioned the Administrative Court to clarify anew, "if the actual grounds for suspicion of having committed anti-constitutional efforts" of the "Junge Freiheit" are sufficient and if its mentioning in the annual reports of the North Rhine-Westphalian Office for the Protection of the Constitution was appropriate.
Press release of the Federal Constitutional Court of 28.06.05 // taz 29.06.05 // SZ 29.06.05

Asylum statistics

In June 2005, a total of 2,287 persons have submitted a petition for political asylum in Germany. Compared to May 2005, the number of asylum seekers has thus increased by 8.5 per cent (+180 persons). Compared to June 2004, respective figures have fallen by 21 per cent (-608 persons). The main countries of origin in June were Serbia and Montenegro (424), Turkey (240) and Iraq (194) followed by the Russian Federation (124) and Afghanistan (79). In June, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees has reviewed the applications of 4,715 asylum seekers, 56 (1.2 per cent) of whom have been recognised as entitled to political asylum. A further 216 persons (4.6 per cent) have been granted protection against deportation according to §60, paragraph 1, Residence Law. The applications of 2,604 people (55.2 per cent) have been rejected. The cases of another 1,839 persons (39.0 per cent) have been closed for other reasons, for example because asylum seekers have withdrawn their applications.
Press release BMI 26.07.05



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