Scholz and Faeser on “Mission Impossible” in Africa?

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Fierce debates about migration have been going on for weeks. The traffic light changes color – now results are required. But problems arise in Africa.

Berlin/Lagos – Amid the heated debate on migration, this may be an approach to finding a solution: An agreement between the Federal Republic and countries of origin and third countries regarding the readmission or acceptance of rejected asylum seekers. Migration expert Gerald Knaus had called for such an agreement at the start of the traffic light coalition. But in its first two years, the traffic light coalition was unsuccessful in finding new partnerships.

This appears to be under huge pressure to change: on Monday (30 October) three German government representatives were in Africa. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) in Nigeria – Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (also SPD) and government representative Joachim Stamp (FDP) in Morocco, specially appointed for the agreement. But as expected: this is a difficult mission.

Migration is now a top priority: Scholz and Faeser in Africa – agreement needed

Movement on the treaty issue is urgently needed. Since the state elections in Bavaria and Hesse, the topic of migration and asylum has become a hotly debated topic. There is no shortage of promises (from the traffic lights) and demands (from the opposition).

But representatives of federal states and refugees unanimously see the Faeser deportation package recently passed by the cabinet as a “false debate”: there is talk of an additional 600 deportations as a result of the measure. Not a big amount. At the same time, it is far from the “large-scale deportation” that Scholz postulates – and in the eyes of the German Bar Association, among others, it is still linked to interference with fundamental rights.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday in Nigeria’s capital, Lagos. © Michael Kappeler/dpa

This recently prompted Knaus, known as the “father of the Turkish deal,” to issue a warning: “There are political traps,” he explained using the example of Austria, where the right-wing populist FPÖ is gaining strength. “You talk a lot about migration, complain a lot, but then nothing changes,” Knaus said Daily mirror. In Germany, the AfD could benefit from disappointed expectations, he warned: “That is why decisions must be made before the end of this year that will actually lead to a decrease in irregular migration to Germany in 2024.”

Maybe that’s what the agreement requires. Because deportation doesn’t just happen – people have to be taken to another state. CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt also asked for the request act quickly – and not just on this issue. However, questions initially arose as to whether major progress could be achieved in Morocco and Nigeria. In recent years, the Moroccan government has shown no interest in taking back German citizens who were forced to leave the country. And in Nigeria, Scholz heard warm words on Sunday. But at the same time they uncovered further problems.

Scholz visits West Africa: Nigeria “makes no demands” – but the problem remains

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu is open to taking back refugees. When asked what he expected from Germany in return, he said at a joint press conference with Scholz: “I am not making any demands.” If they are Nigerian, they are welcome to go home. The Chancellor has promoted the expansion of “migration hubs” in the capital Lagos. This is intended to make it easier for skilled workers to get to Germany. The fact that Scholz also spoke about “investment on both sides” could suggest that there is a bit of a charm offensive involved as well.

The problem, even with deportation to Nigeria, is identity formation. Of the nearly 14,000 Nigerian asylum seekers who were required to leave the country, about 12,500 were tolerated, most because they lacked identity documents.

Traffic lights and migration: Scholz’s defeated “official representative”?

But the situation was even more unpleasant for Stamp. He has served as the “Federal Government’s Special Representative for Migration Agreements” since February. The success was manageable: at the end of September, Stamp signed an agreement with Kyrgyzstan. Talks were also underway with Uzbekistan, they said at the time. Government spokesperson Christiane Hoffmann also referred to the agreement with India and negotiations with Georgia, Moldova, Kenya and Colombia a week ago (23 October). Stamp is “very active.”

Stamp’s efforts are almost comical.

Even among the ruling party, the balance sheet arouses derision. Green Jürgen Trittin also called Daily mirror – Uzbekistan is the “putative country of origin” and almost no refugees arrive. At the same time, it will be difficult for other countries to accept rejected products from other countries: “The efforts that Stamp is making are almost comical,” Trittin said.

Stamp himself has recently touched on issues outside his control. In New Osnabrücker Zeitung he demanded benefits in kind, not money, for asylum seekers. That Rhenish Post He stated that Moldova and Georgia should be immediately declared safe countries of origin. Both measures could make his job easier, Stamp said. For example, citizens’ interest in living in Germany decreases if it is no longer possible to transfer money to their home country.

How big is the benefit? Remains to be seen. Government spokesman Hoffmann recently urged patience. The federal government has clearly stated that “it is a very important question and we are discussing it.” Setting “any ultimatum or timeframe” “makes no sense at all.” (fn with material from dpa and AFP)

Ambrose Fernandez

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