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Brussels: There are signs of a stunning shift in EU migration policy

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There are indications of an astonishing shift in EU migration policy

Ursula von der Leyen under pressure

Ursula von der Leyen under pressure

Coyle: Getty Images / Ian Forsyth

For a long time, the European Commission was strongly opposed to financial support for the construction of border fences. Now there are signs of a shift. This would be a serious political defeat for European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

IIn the EU’s immigration policy, there are indications of an astonishing shift: in the future, Brussels may be willing to financially support the construction of border fences. If it really happened this way, it would be a serious political defeat for EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

What happened? On Wednesday, EU Council President Charles Michel surprisingly called on the EU to fund border fortifications in light of the migration dispute between Poland and Belarus. The European Commission, led by von der Leyen, has been vehemently opposed to this on several occasions.

It wasn’t until the end of October, just a few days after the last EU summit in Brussels, that the Commissioner for the Interior, Elva Johansson, said: „We are funding a variety of measures to protect external borders that are being taken in individual member states. Some countries want to This includes erecting border fences.

There was no agreement on this on the 27th at the EU summit last week. Johansson added that von der Leyen also made it clear that „the Commission does not provide any funds to create physical barriers”.

The pressure on von der Leyen has increased tremendously

During a visit to the Polish capital Warsaw, Michel said the EU would discuss the possibility of financing „physical infrastructure at the border” in the coming days. By doing so, von der Leyen is openly challenging.

But that’s not all: the former head of the Belgian government also presented the result of a statement issued by the legal experts of the European Council – that is, the representation of the 27 member states – according to which „physical infrastructure” „for border protection” can be legally financed from EU funds. The final decision is made by the EU Commission, as it is the only one that can release the funds.

One thing is certain: the pressure on Commission President von der Leyen has increased significantly in the past few days in light of the worsening migration crisis at the Polish-Belarus border. Several thousand illegal immigrants from Arab-majority countries on the territory of Belarus are trying to break through the border barriers with Poland and thus enter the European Union.

After Lithuania and Latvia, Poland is now in trouble due to the state-regulated human smuggling by the government in Minsk. The three countries are demanding support from Brussels – as well as in the construction of fences and walls.

Now there is also legal clarity

A month ago, twelve EU countries wrote a letter to the EU Commission calling for physical border barriers to be paid at least in part from the common budget.

The 12 countries’ message was discussed in detail at the EU summit on October 21. However, at the time, it seemed that many heads of government were not yet fully clear whether the EU was really allowed to participate in the financing of border fences to protect the EU’s external borders. Now, according to Michel, the legal service of the Council of the European Union has created clarity: it is allowed to finance the fences.

A high-level representative of the EU also confirmed that EU heads of state and government had explicitly stated in their final declaration at the EU summit in October that „no attempts by third countries to exploit migrants for political purposes will be accepted”. That was a clear message to the governor of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko.

According to the EU High Representative, paragraph 20 of the closing statement is even more important. It states: „The European Council requests the Commission to propose any necessary changes to the EU’s legal framework, as well as concrete measures with appropriate financial support, in order to provide an immediate and appropriate response in accordance with EU law and EU international obligations, including the fundamental rights to ensure” .

The EU Commission is repeating the same mistakes.

From the point of view of influential EU circles, this passage commits the EU Commission to an open debate rather than – as it happened – to stick to it from the start and refuse to co-finance border fences. In this context, the members of the Member States also note that „Lithuania, which has a border of about 700 kilometers with Belarus, will not be able to finance a border fence on its own.”

Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nahammer made a phone call to his Polish counterpart, Mariusz Kaminski, on Wednesday. During the conversation, Kaminsky demanded not only tougher sanctions against Minsk, but first of all financial assistance to erect a border fence on more than 400 kilometers of the border between Poland and Belarus.

Nehammer is angry with the EU Commission: „The EU Commission is repeating the same mistakes made during the migration crisis in Lithuania. Here, too, Brussels refused financial support for the construction of a border fence and only wanted to help take in illegal immigrants. This is a 'completely wrong signal to smugglers’.”

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Schultz after federal state talks: 'The leadership is there’

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Status: 11/30/2021 10:21 PM

A change of government in the middle of the fourth wave of the pandemic presents a particular challenge to political leaders. After federal state consultations, Vice Chancellor Schultz secured in daily themesThe new government is ready to act.

Despite the change of government, the appointed successor to the chancellor, Olaf Schultz, sees the leadership as well prepared to deal with the Corona pandemic. After the deliberations of the federal and state governments in the afternoon, Schulze said at daily themes„I made the right decisions,” he said, emphasizing „the leadership is there.”

The new government’s mandate is clear: „We have to vaccinate, we will form a crisis team and we need new contact restrictions in order to monitor the infection process.”

Schultz criticized the fact that the SPD had not yet nominated a federal health minister, dismissing it as „completely unjustified”. Indeed, next week it will be clear which women and men will join the federal government for the sake of the SPD and then the „government”. He will meet quickly and get to work.”

For a mandatory vaccination vote without a parliamentary bloc

With the aim of discussing universal compulsory vaccination, Schultz spoke in favor of a similar vote in Parliament without the usual discipline of a parliamentary group. Voting without a parliamentary bloc is an option for morally sensitive issues. The question of compulsory vaccination, Schultz said, is also a matter of conscience.

Prior to this, the federal and state governments agreed on additional new measures for Corona in consultation with Chancellor Angela Merkel and her designated successor in the afternoon. In the preliminary paper corresponding to ARD Capital Studio Available, it was said that a „national solidarity action” wanted to ensure that the number of infections was reduced and the burden on the health system was reduced.

A decision is expected on Thursday

Both Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder and government spokesman Stephen Seibert announced that details must be agreed upon in the next step at the prime minister’s conference on Thursday. This is followed by application in federal state regulations.

According to the preliminary paper, plans by the federal and state governments envisage starting a new vaccination campaign by Christmas. Until then, you need up to 30 million additional vaccines in the form of booster, first and second vaccines. For this purpose, the Federal Government Crisis Team has already been formed, which will begin its work immediately. He takes care of any problems that may arise, for example with logistics and delivery of vaccines. German General Carsten Breuer will lead this crisis teamGovernment spokesman Seibert also confirmed.

Expand the circle of people authorized to vaccinate

In order to carry out the vaccination campaign, the pool of those authorized to carry out the vaccinations must be expanded – for example, pharmacists and nursing staff. Vaccination decreases dramatically over time, she said, so vaccination should lose recognition as „complete” after six months.

Additionally, it appears that the federal and state governments are considering establishing a nationwide 2G rule in the retail space. Accordingly, only vaccinated and recovered persons are allowed to enter the shops. The exceptions are shops for daily needs.

Strict restrictions on contact for unvaccinated people

The federal and state governments are also planning to impose strict limits on contact with unvaccinated people. Private gatherings in public or private spaces in which unvaccinated and unvaccinated persons participate shall be limited to one’s home and a maximum of two persons from another home. Children up to 14 years of age should be exempted from this.

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In areas with a high infection or hospitalization rate, it is planned to close clubs, discos and similar facilities in the future. Initially, however, nothing was known about the boundary values.

’Full football fields are not acceptable’

In general, major events should be significantly restricted. She added that full soccer fields like last weekend were „unacceptable”. In addition to the 2G base, the 2GPlus base, that is, an additional current corona test, can be envisaged.

According to the preliminary paper, universal mask requirements are planned for all grade levels in schools.

Vaccination is required from February under discussion

The introduction of universal compulsory vaccination was also discussed. She added that the Bundestag would decide on this matter in due course on the basis of collective proposals. Compulsory vaccination can take effect once each person decides to receive the vaccination. This may have been the case since the beginning of February, for example.

Schultz had previously expressed sympathy with the mandatory universal vaccination against Corona. He announced at Bild TV a legislative measure for general vaccination requirements, which could start this year. Then, members of Parliament should be able to vote freely according to their conscience on the planned provision. The project was justified by the necessary protection of the population.

„We will introduce a legislative measure where every member of Parliament can vote according to his or her conscience on the universal vaccination requirement,” Schultz said. However, he does not see the future federal government as an actor, rather it is a matter of Parliament. Prior to this, there should be a facility-related vaccination requirement for seniors and nursing homes.

Appeal from the Medical Syndicate

The German Medical Association also supports compulsory vaccination against corona. A letter from the Presidency to participants in federal government consultations stated that „a very high vaccination rate is the only way out of the endless cycle of closure with massive psychosocial side effects, especially for children and adolescents.” The federal government should immediately establish statutory regulations for the constitutionally secured vaccination requirements for all adults without medical contraindications.

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Kretschmann for the decision on the epidemiological situation

The Prime Minister of the state of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann (the Greens), called for a re-declaration of the importance of the epidemiological situation at the national level. “Without this decision, we have an asymmetry in the corona metrics,” Kretschmann said. Under the Infection Protection Act, federal states are allowed to close cultural venues, but not stores or fairs. “If we closed the theaters but had to leave the brothels open, you can imagine the discussion,” Kretschmann said.

Tribute from Söder and Wüst

Sodder was satisfied with the current deliberations by the federal and state governments. „You could say: The direction is right,” he said in Munich. The line they agreed on was „anyway something like the Corona package and, to some extent, also an emergency brake”. Sodder openly thanked potential new Federal Chancellor Schultz. „It’s been going better than I thought. A lot of progress has been made. And now I can say that personally: Olaf Schulz played his part today too.”

The Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hendrik Fust (CDU) spoke of a „common understanding” of the prime ministers as well as Merkel and Schulz about the critical and tragic situation in Germany. Scholz agrees to improve the Infection Protection Act. This is especially important for countries with very high numbers of infections.

With information from ARD Capital . studio

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Corona situation: How the federal and state governments can move forward

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Status: 11/30/2021 1:34 PM

In light of the new Omikron variant and the strength of the fourth wave, the call for tougher measures is growing. The federal and state governments have been discussing the crisis since 1 pm. What are the suggestions on the table? Overview.

Why are the federal and state governments already providing advice today?

The next federal meeting is scheduled for December 9. Due to the worsening Corona situation and the newly emerged Omikron change, the Prime Minister is already conducting a telephone consultation with Chancellor Angela Merkel and her designated successor Olaf Schulz.

However, the chancellorship’s executive minister, Helge Braun, had previously slowed expectations. „Decisions are not made today. That was the prerequisite for the meeting,” the CDU politician told broadcasters RTL and NTV, referring to the vote with the SPD side.

What options are conceivable?

There are many conceivable options on the table. The Bundestag can, by simple decision, „Epidemiological situation of national importance“But again. This would give the legal basis for all previous crisis instruments in one fell swoop. This could happen in the next normal week of December 6 or earlier in a special session.

Traffic light parties allowed the national-wide epidemic situation to expire on November 25 and reformed the Law on Protection against Infection with a new majority in the Bundestag. In the future, federal states will not be able to enforce nationwide lockdowns, school closures and curfews. The transitional rules last until December 15.

Another option is to expand the list of measures that traffic light groups have reduced, regardless of the state of the epidemic. For now, general closures of restaurants and stores or local travel restrictions are being ruled out in an entire state. it will take Legislative actions in the Bundestag With the approval of the Federal Council.

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One can also limit additional requirements quickly Prime Minister’s Conference with the federal government. For example, new or lower thresholds for additional requirements and restrictions can be envisaged in the event of large numbers of injuries or hospital loads.

What do you want traffic lights?

There was broad agreement in the lead up to the need for further measures between the SPD, the Greens, and the FDP. However, there are different opinions on the periphery as to what stress might look like. Robert Habeck, head of the Green Party, said in a detailed Morning Journal of ARD and ZDF: “It is quite clear what has to happen: Communications must be reduced, and 2G must be implemented nationwide in a manner that is binding on all public institutions except for the needs one needs in supermarkets or pharmacies.”

In an interview with daily themes compressed Green health expert Janusz Dahmin the importance of a unified approach. „If this cannot be enforced by the regulatory framework of the federal states alone, other regulations put in place by the federal government are necessary to ensure that.”

Karl Lauterbach, SPD health expert, points out night magazine About the fact that the steps taken so far are not enough to reverse the trend in the fourth corona wave. It needs to be refilled and that will happen now, too, according to Lauterbach.

SPD chief Saskia Eskin does not want to rule out further lockdown measures. „These days I highly recommend that nothing be ruled out for anyone with political responsibility either, because we don’t know how things are going,” Esken said in a joint statement. Morning magazine from ARD and ZDF.

FDP leader Christian Lindner had already spoken out in favor of more communication restrictions. The party wants to avoid large-scale shutdowns.

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„I rule out a nationwide lockdown for now,” Kristin Aschenberg-Dognus, a spokeswoman for health policy for the Bundestag’s parliamentary group, told NTV. However, there should be restrictions on the connection in the hotspots. For example, clubs and discos should be closed, and major events such as football matches „shouldn’t be possible in my opinion at the moment,” Aschenberg-Dognus says.

What do countries require?

There are calls from several countries for new „emergency brakes”. Saarland Prime Minister Tobias Hans, for example, has called for „emergency curb measures in national uniforms”. „For areas with very high infection, it needs to have a lock-in capability,” said the CDU politician from Bild. Saarland is currently planning further tightening, as are North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Saxony and Bavaria.

Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) today once again called for decisive and common action by all. „Now the federal government has to do its part,” he said. BR. This includes, for example, giving pharmacies the opportunity to vaccinate and providing an adequate vaccine. In addition, the legal basis for general vaccination requirements must be established. Soder said standardized procedures are needed in Germany and not a patchwork quilt.

The German Federation of Cities and Municipalities is also calling for uniform standards nationwide for stricter coronavirus measures. General Manager Gerd Landsberg spoke at rbb To restore the epidemiological situation of national importance. The list of measures drawn up by the new Infection Protection Act is good, Landsberg said, but not enough. This is why a different legal basis for epidemic control measures is needed.

What do scientists recommend?

Scientists work with physicist Viola Pressman From the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Regulation in Göttingen a legal basis for a type of emergency circuit breaker and other far-reaching measures. „Especially with regard to the new Omicron formula, this type of precaution is urgently required,” the statement said. Legal prerequisites should be established as quickly as possible. „The set of rules should be the same for all federal states in order to enable clear communication and planning.”

In addition to the package of emergency measures, contact tracing of people with omicron infection should be an „absolute priority for now.” Sufficient personnel and resources must be provided for this. A systematic genetic record is also essential.

According to many scientists, Omikron increases the importance of vaccinations and contact restrictions.

What do the decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court mean?

The emergency brake in the Infection Protection Act (section 28b) was limited in time and expired at the end of June. In the newly amended law of future traffic light alliances from SPD, Greens and FDP, the clause looks different and now contains, for example, a 3G base in the workplace. Federal Constitutional Court decisions on federal emergency braking have been eagerly awaited. Politicians hope for specific guidance on the scope of their work regarding the restrictions on freedom in the Corona pandemic.

The court has now ruled that the federal emergency brake was not an unacceptable interference with fundamental rights. Karlsruhe judges announced today that the restrictions on exit and contact „as a whole served life, protect health” and preserve the health system. Nor does the prohibition of face-to-face teaching violate the right to school education.

With the resolutions, those clamoring to return to the emergency brake are seeing themselves assured. Bavaria’s Prime Minister Söder sees it as „the basis for the new federal emergency curb”. All those who tried to paint a different picture have now been refuted, the CSU politician wrote on Twitter. Chancellery chief Brown (CDU) is also insisting on unified emergency brakes nationwide in response to Karlsruhe’s decisions on anti-corona measures.

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Migrants in the Belarusian border region: 'We were trapped in the middle’

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Status: 11/30/2021 3:22 AM

The situation in the Belarusian border region remains desperate. More and more migrants are telling how they are stuck between the fronts. There is no expected improvement in the situation.

Written by Martha Welchinsky, ARD Studio Moscow

Another person died in the western border region of Belarus. According to the Belarusian border guards, the man was found dead on Monday night near the border with Lithuania. He was pushed to the Belarusian side, said Governor Alexander Lukashenko at a meeting with representatives of the Belarusian Ministry of Defense.

In this immigrant crisis, these miscreants go so far as to kill people. It’s always the same way: you put a dead or half-dead person in a sleeping bag and put them on our border.

Martha Welchinsky
ARD studio Moscow

Lukashenko assures that the investigators will explain the reason for this. But there are hardly any opportunities for an independent examination of what is going on in the forests between Belarus and the European Union.

forced attack

The migrants repeatedly say that Belarusian border guards urged them to cross the border into Poland or Lithuania. The attack by hundreds of migrants at the Brusgi-Kuznica border crossing nearly two weeks ago was forcible, says this 18-year-old Iraqi:

I said we can’t go back to Belarus, but we can’t go to Poland either. So we were trapped – in the middle. It was cold and we had to do something. The people froze. So the Belarusians said: If you attack now, our people will help you return.

After a brief period of escalation, during which the Polish side used water cannons and tear gas, about 2,000 migrants were transferred to temporary emergency housing – in a warehouse not far from the Belarusian-Polish border. Many are still there today – hoping that they will somehow make it to Europe.

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The situation is not expected to improve

Many have now given up hope – like Shilwan, a law student from Iraq. Like hundreds of others, he made it home via Minsk over the weekend. Had he known what to expect on the border with Europe, he says, he would not have started. And only after returning from Belarus, he dares to describe in an audio message what happened in the border area.

On the first night, the Belarusian border guards took us and told us that they would take us to Poland. They said there were no police and no controls. But they lied. On the second night they took us to the Lithuanian border. The Lithuanians came with dogs and electric batons and forced us back to Belarus.

The situation of immigrants in Belarus, especially in the border region, is not expected to change soon. Unless they choose the way back to their countries of origin.

During his visit to the emergency shelter last Friday, Alexander Lukashenko publicly announced that he would launch a personal campaign to allow these people to cross into Europe – and in particular to Germany. But this is not a real perspective. Especially since the governor himself added that the situation at the site will not improve in the near future.

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