Germany Strikes First Bilateral Deal for Return of Migrants with Spain
Germany’s government has struck a migrant return deal with Spain achieving its first of what is supposed to become a series of bilateral agreements with fellow EU member states.
The migrant return deal was reached between the Interior Ministries of Germany and Spain, Eleonore Petermann, a spokeswoman for the German Interior Ministry announced on Wednesday.
In recent months, Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has been pushing his policies to curb the influx of migrants, one of them being striking bilateral deals with the respective other EU member states in order to return migrants to their point of entry to the Union.
Petermann said the deal allowing Germany to return some migrants to Spain had been signed by the German and Spanish interior ministries on Monday, DW reports.
The spokeswoman pointed out that Spain had not asked for anything from Germany in return. The bilateral agreement is due to come into force on Saturday, August 11, 2018.
Germany’s new migrant return agreement with Spain covers migrants who have registered as refugees in Spain with their data recorded in the European Dactyloscopy (Eurodac) fingerprint database for identifying asylum seekers and people crossing borders in an irregular manner.
Under the deal, migrants arriving from Spain can be returned there within 48 hours of arrival at the German border.
Over the upcoming weekend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to visit Spain and meet with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
Petermann made it clear Germany was negotiating similar bilateral agreements with Italy and Greece, the other top EU entry points for migrants.
Under European Union rules, migrants arriving from outside the EU should register and their application be processed in the country where they make their initial entry.
In July, Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who is also the leader of the CSU, the Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s ruling CDU party, nearly brought down the Merkel Cabinet after his insistence on new measures against illegal immigration led to a crisis and complex talks that resulted in a compromise deal of the ruling coalition.
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