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Jean Asselborn. Photo: Government of Luxembourg

MEPs want to cut funding for countries that are critical of asylum

MEPs from several parties have agreed to Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn's request to cut funding for asylum-critical member states.

Published: January 2, 2020, 6:50 am

    Brussels

    “There can be no EU in which one is rewarded for unsolidarial behavior,” Green MEP Erik Marquardt told German magazine Der Spiegel. “You have to act in solidarity if you want to continue receiving money from the EU.”

    Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic have successfully resisted the Brussels decision to accept asylum seekers for years – despite a judgment by the European Court of Justice. Green politician Marquardt suggests that the money for such states be passed on directly to aid organizations.

    “This would not cut the money for a country like Hungary, it would only be removed from the control of the Hungarian government.” Countries that show solidarity on the asylum question should be given priority in the future allocation of EU funds.

    Asselborn last week asked to cut funding for countries if they refused to accept migrants. This was also followed by Birgit Sippel (SPD) and Danial Caspary (CDU) MEPs. “If you don’t take part, you will get less money from the EU budget,” clarified Sippel. Countries such as Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic should also not be able to show “alternative solidarity”, for example by investing more money in border protection instead of accepting asylum seekers.

    Caspary also sees a possible leverage in such budget negotiations. All states would then put their interests on the table and a fair balancewill have to be found. “After all, everyone wants to have a proper household in the end.”

    On Christmas Eve, the EU Commission asked the member countries to accept unaccompanied minors asylum seekers from the Greek reception centers. A spokesman informed the Hamburg magazine that this, like similar requests in the past, had been unsuccessful. At the moment, attempts are being made to make the camps winter-proof.

    Shortly before Christmas, Greens co-chair Robert Habeck had appealed to the German federal government to have thousands of immigrants from Greece brought to Germany. The Federal Republic could help even without the other EU member states taking part. Speedy aid is a “commandment of humanity”, because among the 4 000 children on the Greek Mediterranean islands are “many girls, many fragile little people”.

    Several federal states had previously signaled their willingness to bring immigrants to Germany from the island of Lesbos. In addition to Lower Saxony, these were Baden-Württemberg, Berlin and Thuringia.

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