To combat migration, the EU relies on camps at the external borders and cooperation with transit countries. For some, that's not enough.

Many refugees are crammed into an inflatable boat.

Syrian migrants fleeing war in Europe arrive on the Greek island of Lesbos Photo: Ashley Cooper/imago

BRUSSELS/BERLIN taz | Against the votes of the left, the Greens, some social democrats and the far right, the EU Parliament voted on Wednesday in favor of reforming the EU asylum system, Geas. It is scheduled to come into force in 2026 and, in the medium term, internment camps with up to 120,000 places will be built at the EU's external borders. In these cases, the protection requests of many arrivals must be clarified through a rapid procedure. Geas aims to greatly facilitate deportations to third countries.

Negotiators in the European Parliament already warn against abuses regarding these third countries. The main thorn in the side of the EU's top parliamentarians are the agreements that the EU Commission and Italy negotiated without parliament. Commission head Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) first negotiated agreements with Tunisia and then also with Egypt and Mauritania in March, which also provide for close cooperation to prevent “irregular” migration.

Von der Leyen worked closely with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who leads the post-fascist Fratelli d'Italia party and wants to radically restrict migration. Meloni, for her part, has single-handedly signed an agreement with Albania, where part of the asylum procedures will be carried out in the future. Brussels has declared the controversial agreement legal.

“These agreements worry us, they do not comply with the pact,” criticized the Spanish conservative MEP Jorge Buxadé. Planned deportations of migrants who do not have the right to asylum from the new border camps should only be carried out to safe third countries and should be carefully monitored. But that is not the case of the new agreements with third countries.

Refugee deal with Türkiye seen as model deal

There are no guarantees that asylum seekers will remain in Albania and not progress to the EU via the Balkans. Egypt and Tunisia are not safe; Furthermore, they are run by autocrats. The European Parliament similarly criticized the refugee agreement with Turkey, which was concluded in 2016 and is now seen as a model for new agreements.

EU Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly also has major concerns. The new agreements with Tunisia and Egypt did not contain any clauses on human rights violations and possible EU sanctions, such as a suspension of cooperation. But the EU Commission is turning a deaf ear. It has announced new agreements worth billions of dollars with third countries to stop “irregular” migration.

The EU Heads of State and Government also want to continue on the path they have chosen. At a special summit next week they want to reactivate suspended cooperation with Türkiye. Cooperation on asylum and migration policy is a top priority; Türkiye is supposed to act as a restrictive “gatekeeper” for Europe.

However, the Union is already thinking about the future. He wants to adopt his new basic program in May, and what is planned in it leaves Geas behind in all aspects: “Anyone who applies for asylum in Europe should be transferred to a safe third country and undergo a procedure there,” he says. says Draft Program. If recognized, “the safe third country will grant the applicant protection in situ.”

The UK-Rwanda model for Germany

It is Britain's Rwanda model, which is why CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt traveled to the East African country in March. The Minister of Migration has shown a “high willingness” to reach corresponding agreements with Germany. Dobrindt sees no legal problems if asylum procedures were carried out according to European standards and under EU supervision.

In Britain, courts had repeatedly banned the deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda. A March analysis by the Science and Politics Foundation speaks of “legal, practical and political objections” that are “hidden” in the debate over a German model for Rwanda.