German States Angry as Govt Blocks Them from Taking Migrants from Greek Camps

German States Angry as Govt Blocks Them from Taking Migrants from Greek Camps

Earlier this year, Germany actually received unaccompanied children from migrant camps in Greece.

The leftist governments of two German states have been enraged after the federal government in the face of Interior Minister Horst Seehofer blocked them from bringing to Germany migrants from refugee camps in Greece.

The Cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel, that is, has prevented two of the country’s 16 states, Berlin and Thuringia, from acting unilaterally to bring Middle Eastern migrants presently in fellow EU member state Greece.

This has led the states to consider legal action against the central government of Germany, DW reports.

The two states are also seeking a faster political option to take migrants from the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos in the Aegean Sea because of its humanitarian conditions.

Germany’s largest state, North Rhine-Westphalia, and some others have said they would also take in migrants presently living in Greek refugee camps.

Unlike the state governments of Berlin and Thuringia, which have tried to act unilaterally to bring migrants from Greece, however, North Rhine-Westphalia offered to accept several hundred people as part of a federal program together with other EU member states.

“We cannot simply shrug our shoulders and accept a ‘No’ from Horst Seehofer to our readiness to help people in desperate circumstances,” said Berlin’s Interior Minister Andreas Geisel urging a conference between Seehofer and the interior ministers of the 16 states.

The Moria camp on Greece’s Lesbos island presently has between 14,000 and 17,000 migrants even though it was built with a capacity for fewer than 3,000.

Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, former head of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has been trying to cut down the number of migrants flocking to Germany from around the Middle East and Africa. He is known for once calling immigration the “mother of all problems.”

He has been arguing that the acceptance of any more migrants is a decision for the federal government, and that any response to the influx of migrants must be an EU responsibility.

“No country in the world can manage migration alone. This makes it all the more important that we finally make visible progress in European asylum policy. We are on the right track, and I am not prepared to jeopardize that now,” Seehofer is quoted as saying.

The dispute between the states of Berlin and Thuringia on the one hand, and the central government of Germany over migrants and state rights is complicated by party politics since both states in question are ruling by leftists.

The ruling coalition in the state of Berlin is led by the Social Democrats, who are actually a partner of the CDU-CSU in the Merkel Cabinet, while Thuringia is ruled by the Left Party, a distant successor of the former ruling party of the former communist East Germany.

Earlier this year, Germany actually received unaccompanied children from migrant camps in Greece.

Seehofer has previously approved requests to bring to Germany people in need such as Yazidi from Iraq and people from parts of Syria. However, those did not arrive via another EU countries such as Greece.

(Banner image: Flickr)

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