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SPD brings suspension of voluntary migrant admission into play - because of Meloni's course

A few days before an EU meeting on how to deal with boat migrants, German domestic politicians are increasing the pressure on Italy.

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SPD brings suspension of voluntary migrant admission into play - because of Meloni's course

A few days before an EU meeting on how to deal with boat migrants, German domestic politicians are increasing the pressure on Italy. If the country "still fails to find a decent policy with regard to the rescue ships" and migrants "simply pass them through to the north", then the so-called solidarity mechanism with Italy must be "suspended", said the migration policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group, Lars Castellucci. WORLD.

The voluntary mechanism actually provides for some of the migrants arriving in Italy to be distributed to other EU countries. Recently, however, there had been several upsets because the new government in Rome refused to allow some sea rescuers to land. France then got out of the distribution system – in contrast to the federal government, which is sticking to the admission of people for the time being.

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) has so far stuck to this solidarity mechanism - despite the growing criticism. There will be a special meeting of EU interior ministers on Friday.

The FDP and the Greens are also calling on the Italian government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to take in the migrants rescued in the Mediterranean – but, unlike the SPD faction, are sticking to the distribution mechanism. "As long as state sea rescue cannot be guaranteed, private sea rescue must not be hindered," said FDP migration expert Stephan Thomae. You shouldn't endanger human life. "Italy must clearly commit to this."

However, suspending the voluntary solidarity mechanism on the German side would be "a step backwards in the attempt to finally establish a fixed, legally binding and permanent distribution mechanism for the EU," said Thomae. A common European asylum system must remain the goal.

Julian Pahlke, migration expert of the Green Group, said: "The continued existence of the solidarity mechanism is essential for progress at European level." From his point of view, the mechanism still has to be "optimized". So far, there has been a “quick and unbureaucratic redistribution to other EU countries”.

A spokesman for the German Ministry of the Interior recently made it clear how bad the distribution is. In June, the EU states agreed on the voluntary redistribution of 10,000 migrants who come across the Mediterranean, mainly to Italy or Greece. Germany is “by far” the highest number within the EU, said a spokesman for Interior Minister Faeser, namely 3500.

However, the forwarding to Germany is also progressing slowly. Just 74 of these 3,500 migrants had come to Germany by mid-November – which is likely to be a cause of frustration in Italy. The lengthy procedure is responsible, if you follow the Green politician Pahlke.

Migrants who arrive in Italy, for example, are checked by Italian and German authorities before they can continue to Germany. "States like Italy are already registering and checking incoming people, so further delays due to lengthy checks are not helpful," said Pahlke. Secondary security checks should also be able to be carried out in Germany in order to speed up the process.

It is disputed who, in addition to political responsibility, bears the legal responsibility for taking in the people. The Federal Government had recently emphasized several times that "it is our moral and legal obligation not to let people in distress drown". This includes the rescue as well as the further care of the migrants. Germany sees the responsibility for initial reception primarily in Italy. The government there, on the other hand, had emphasized that Germany was also responsible for the migrants – because some of the rescue ships sail under the German flag.

According to the maritime law expert Nassim Madjidian from the University of Hamburg, the regulations are complex. "In principle, Italy is not obliged to let the rescue ships arrive," said Madjidian WELT. "Ports are part of the respective national territory." Each state can decide for itself who is allowed to enter the national territory under which rules and who is not. But there are exceptions - for example if the situation on board is so serious that there is a risk to life and limb. "Then ships have a right to be able to enter," says Madjidian. At the very least, Italy must take part in coordinating the search for a port.

Germany is also not directly responsible for receiving the ships that fly its flag. "The flag state is responsible for ensuring that the ships flying its flag comply with all the rules applicable in the flag state." If a crime were committed on a German rescue ship, then Germany would be responsible for investigating this crime. The flag state is also obliged to provide diplomatic support to “its ships” in the event of a crisis. "This does not mean that there is no obligation to take the ships or the rescued on board ourselves."

On Monday, the EU Commission outlined an action plan to curb illegal migration across the Mediterranean. In addition to strengthening the distribution mechanism, there should also be a framework for private sea rescue ships.

"Kick-off Politics" is WELT's daily news podcast. The most important topic analyzed by WELT editors and the dates of the day. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music or directly via RSS feed.

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