More than 12,000 people are homeless after the fire disaster in the Moria refugee camp. Should there be a German approach to include those affected – or is there a need for a European response?
The Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, has spoken out against the unilateral admission of migrants by Germany to solve the refugee problem in Europe. After the fire in the Greek camp Moria, rapid humanitarian aid was needed, the applicant for the party chairmanship of the CDU made clear to ZDF on Wednesday evening.
Moreover, a comprehensive European response is needed. “You need a much bigger solution here than doing it alone,” he said. “That does not solve everyone who comes to Germany.” Otherwise, the problem would come back a few weeks later. “It doesn’t help if you make it a German task, it’s a European one.” Otherwise, the other EU countries would withdraw and not participate, he explained in the ARD.
The fire on Wednesday evening almost completely destroyed the migrant camp on the island of Lesbos. Instead of the planned 3,000 people, more than 12,000 were housed. Athens is now struggling to find shelter for thousands of homeless people.
Laschet: “First we need a few states”
He shares exactly the approach and attitude of Chancellor Angela Merkel. “The Minister of the Interior must now find a solution with his European colleagues,” said Laschet on ZDF. Uniform admission throughout Europe is not necessary for a distribution of migrants. “We need a few states first,” said Laschet. “European solution does not mean all 27.” And: “If a country like Hungary says it will definitely not participate in this solution, then we should not enforce it by majority vote.”
Meanwhile, German Development Cooperation Minister Gerd Müller (has called for the admission of 2,000 migrants from there. Germany should continue with a corresponding “sign of humanity,” the CSU politician said in the ARD Wednesday evening. Müller stressed: “This are not the refugees. Greece. These are Europe’s refugees. “And that is why he also sees a duty in Europe and the European Union to reach agreement on a solution to the refugee crisis.
Austria and the Netherlands clearly reject admission
Austria, meanwhile, continues to speak out against accepting migrants from Moria. “We have to be very careful not to send out signals here that cause a chain reaction that we may no longer be able to control,” said Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg Wednesday evening in the ORF news program “ZiB2”. If the camp were to be evacuated by distributing the migrants among European countries, it would soon be full again, the minister said. As soon as the door to Europe was ajar, many migrants immediately set out. Austria wants to provide immediate assistance on the ground in Greece.
The Netherlands also does not want to accept refugees. “The Netherlands has always taken the position that we do not hire people,” said State Secretary at the Ministry of Justice Ankie Broekers-Knol, TV broadcaster RTL Nieuws on Wednesday. The Hague had previously promised Greece humanitarian aid. “But to take over refugees, as Germany wants, the answer is no.”
France offered its support. The country is ready to join in the solidarity, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said in Paris. “France has never escaped its responsibility,” said Attal. At first he did not provide further details on the possible support. The British Home Office first announced that they were observing the situation in Greece and referred to the regular asylum and entry rules in Britain.
Offers of help, but no solution
Several states, including North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Thuringia, offered to take in migrants from the islands and appealed to Interior Minister Seehofer to pave the way for more refugees.
The German government has offered assistance to Greece. The Greek government must decide what this aid will look like in practice. “Our priority now is to provide assistance locally, within the framework of what Greece needs,” said Federal Interior Ministry spokesman Steve Alter on Wednesday in Berlin.
When asked whether Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) is now ready to allow countries and municipalities that have long been willing to accept refugees from Moria, his spokesman replied: “The current situation presents us with challenges, but that is no reason to question our current legal system. “
She was deeply saddened, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote on Twitter. “We are ready to help with the Member States.” Priority is given to the safety of homeless people.
EU Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson wrote on Twitter that she was in contact with the Greek authorities and had agreed to the prompt transfer and placement of the remaining 400 unaccompanied children on the mainland. In addition, there will be a ship to accommodate particularly vulnerable migrants – such as pregnant women and children.
Migration Commissioner Margaritis Schinas announced on Friday that they would meet with Greek authorities and UN agencies to see what EU countries could do to ease the situation. “In a few weeks” the Commission will present its proposal for a new asylum policy, which has been in the pipeline for a long time, the Greek told ZDF.
Parliamentarians see Europe as an obligation
Erik Marquardt, Member of Parliament for the Greens in the European Parliament, said: “When I see the photos, I also believe that the foundation on which we live together is burning.” People now urgently need to be removed from the Greek islands.
Hesse’s European minister, Lucia Puttrich, is strongly opposed to demands to take in migrants. “This outbreak of violence by some should not be rewarded. Neither by relocation to other European countries, nor in terms of the duration or outcome of the asylum procedure,” said the CDU politician of the newspaper “Bild”. “The photos of the burning refugee camp also make us wonder why some people are setting fire to their safe shelter in Europe.”
At the same time, the European Union must “do everything it can to improve conditions in these institutions,” said Puttrich. “Regarding European fundamental rights, it is a shame how the facilities deal with refugees.”
The CDU member of the Bundestag, Marian Wendt, does not want to accept the migrants affected by the fire in Germany. “Anyone who sets fire to and attacks fire crews cannot be brought to Germany,” he told the newspaper.
At demonstrations in various states, many people called on the federal government to take in migrants from there and from other Aegean islands in the EU and Germany. According to the police, about 3,000 people took part in Berlin on Wednesday evening, more than 1,200 in Hamburg and 300 in Frankfurt am Main.