Some 243 members of the German Bundestag have signed a letter demanding the acceleration of the transfer of migrants from Greek camps to Germany and to mainland Europe. In a letter signed by all major parties except the Alternative for Germany (AfD), German MPs demanded that the federal government should answer the call from those states and municipalities that have agreed to accept more migrants and refugees. They have also demanded that the German government coalition should press for an EU-wide solution for the situation of those in refugee camps in order to “meet human rights standards”. The situation in Greek camps has become critical after some migrants have burned down their own accommodations with the aim of forcing authorities’ hands to transfer them to European countries of their choice.
In September, the camp in Moira has been completely destroyed by fires, followed by a similar case in a refugee camp in Samos. Five migrants of Afghan origin have been arrested and charged with arson in connection with the fires. The signatories of the Christmas roll call had also called on Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) to be instrumental in introducing the German model EU-wide. “We are aware that only a common European asylum system characterized by genuine European solidarity can solve the asylum and migration issue in the long term. However, this European solution is still not in sight,” reads the letter. Yet, some of those involved in the European debate on migration object that the word “solidarity” or “common European asylum system” in the above context are only a by-word for a centralized European migration policy that would take away the right to determine immigration policy on a nation-state level, and purports to replace it with decisions made by European institutions. Wolfgang Kumm/Pool via AP Horst Seehofer, German Minister of the Interior, has opposed German states taking in more migrants. The signatories have acknowledged that the German government had already sent supplies to the Greek camps, and that since April their country had taken more than 1,500 migrants from Greek camps to Germany. Yet, they are calling on Seehofer to allow more migrants in from these camps, saying that the effort made “by the federal government is not enough. That is why we, as members of the German Bundestag, call on the federal government (…) to accelerate the admission of refugees from the Greek islands to Germany”.
Despite widespread reporting of the fires in the Greek migrant camps, virtually no German mainstream media outlet mentions the fact that the fires have been started by migrants themselves, destroying their expensive and modern accommodation built from donations, as well as with Greek-taxpayer contributions. The news blackout comes despite the fact that Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis confirmed that the fires were set by migrants in what he warned was a new tactic. “There is no doubt that Moria was burned by some hyperactive refugees and migrants who tried to blackmail the government by burning Moria down and demanding their immediate relocation from the island,” Greece’s prime minister said. The damage caused by the arson is estimated to run into the millions of euros. Furthermore, while the signatories of the appeal also acknowledge that there is a particular issue of “violent attacks against those in particular need of protection”, that is, women and children, there is no indication that politicians are addressing the fact that many of those responsible for the violence will be transferred along with the women and children. There is also the question of widespread fraud among migrants lying about their age in order to obtain better benefits and avoid potential deportation, a phenomenon documented in Germany , Belgium , France , Sweden , the United Kingdom , and other European countries. AP Photo/Panagiotis Balaskas Suspects, all from Afghanistan escorted by plain clothes policemen and wearing face masks, arrive at a court in Mytilene, the capital of the northeastern Aegean island of Lesbos, Greece, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. The government says the fires in Moria refugee camp were set deliberately by the Afghan migrants protesting a coronavirus lockdown, and authorities on Tuesday announced the arrests of six suspects, include two 17-year-olds, in the case. The pressure is further mounting on Seehofer from his left-wing coalition partners to allow some of the 19.000 people still without satisfactory living conditions to come to Germany.
The German representative of the UNHCR, Frank Remus, had demanded that “political differences between the federal and state governments should be quickly overcome in the interests of people in need”. Yet, Seehofer is a vocal proponent of the so-called “European solution” that would force other European countries to accept migrant quotas, bringing them on par with Germany in terms of accepting migrants. Countries like Hungary and Poland, along with five other EU countries , have roundly rejected such a scheme. Alongside the pre-Christmas drive to accept migrants from Greek camps there is another ongoing controversial repatriation effort from the part of the German government that had seen a number of so called “Islamic State brides” flown in on a chartered flight from Syria to Germany, together with their children. The three women, all German citizens, and twelve children, have been flown back from special refugee camps for IS terrorists and their family members in an area under Kurdish control. They are only the first group of IS volunteers to be flown to Germany, as there are reportedly around a hundred other individuals with German nationality still remaining in Kurdish camps. Although the return of these former members of the international terror group has been widely reported in German media, virtually no journalist had ventured out to analyze the financial costs of repatriations for the German taxpayer in a time of a double-digit recession, nor the potential security risks that these individuals may pose for wider society. Tthe German state is already spending a significant amount of money to monitor and observe jihadists in the country, with one jihadist alone costing German taxpayers over €5 million for the 24-hour police detail he requires.