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FeaturesLetter from Germany - Part 5 - We can do it!!

Letter from Germany – Part 5 – We can do it!!


Christl Stephanblome - croppedby Christl Stephanblome

“We can do it!” (Chancellor Merkel)

The atmosphere is changing. The Republic realizes finally, what she is up to.  The stream of refugees doesn’t stop. There will be more in the future, when the  families will come after them under the law of family reunification. (Wives under 18 years are not allowed to come.) Our borders are open. We are in danger to be overrun. We  have to find a way, to protect our borders, that only political refugees can enter the country. That is our heritage, written down in our Basic Law, we will not close the  borders for those, who are persecuted and in danger of life, but we want to fulfill this  task, we have to make decisions. Yesterday a new asylum law was decided upon. I am not talking about numbers, but there are too many, trying to reach Germany. Some of them register, but some of them don’t want to be registered, because they don’t want their fingerprints taken and don’t want to stay in the country, where they first entered and have to register, according to the Contract of Dublin III. So they live irregularly in the country or in the one, they choose, where they probably have family  members or friends to go to. Nobody knows how many there are.

But those, who register, have to be housed and fed, to be trained and brought into the work force. Winter is coming. Not all tents that they have to stay in are heatable. Most of them want to and will stay, although some of them will opt to go back, when peace has been  established; that we know from ourexperience of the time when so many from the east of the  country came to the western part, and from those times when refugees came from parts of > Yugoslavia or some other country.

On the other hand the ageing FRG needs migrants. We even need more than those who  come because the economy of the FRG suffers from lack of qualified personnel.  Especially those who already have a vocational training, a university degree or have  been in business, are welcome. They often know English or French, but have to learn German and have to be introduced into our political system. The children have to be  integrated into our school system by special classes with specially trained teachers,  be supported by social workers, psychologists, and interpreters. They also need religious  instructions. Most of them are Muslim, who left their countries because of war, but there are Christians too, who fled their countries because of persecution.

Such education will take two to three years and is costly. To reduce the cost,  reduction of allocations is being considered. But the main problem is those who are not accepted, especially those who come without papers, which they destroyed, before they entered the FRG. The solution up to now has been  tacit consent to their continued stay in Germany. These refugees need provisional papers, to which, if they have been successfully identified, the respective home country has to agree, otherwise they don’t get a passport. The reasoning of countries who do not cooperate, are partly strange. Iran, for example, wants the consent of the refugee; Tunisia resists cooperation with the FRG. In other words, they are not  wanted. So they stay. That ahs been  the standpoint of most of the federal states until now.  But under these new conditions these states and the Federal Government is  decisive in accelerating the deportation or – as it is now referred to – repatriation, and they are  successful, but it is still not fast enough. The EU decided to support Germany, to increase the quota of 40%, who are not accepted, and Frontex* should help to distinguish economic refugees from political refugees entitled to protection, should also help to charter planes, to get them back to their home countries.

The transit zones, at the moment only at the airports, should also be established at the borders of the EU, occasionally at the inner borders too. These plans are debated vehemently, but not decided upon until now. It means that  those, who don’t have any papers or faked ones and come from safe countries, will beprocessed within two days and they will be quickly repatriated, to hinder them to remaining a long time in Germany. They can appeal with the help of a lawyer; the courts must make a decision within 14 days, otherwise they will be allowed to enter the country, but don’t receive long term asylum. Only the Office for Migration and Refugees decides, who can stay or has to  be repatriated.

The refugees are distributed to the different federal states – according to the  Königssteiner Key, which means that the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia has  to take 21% of them; that is the highest quota in comparison to the rest of the federal states. There will, as the EU has just decided, 120,000 of them distributed to the  countries of the EU; 19 from Eritrea have just gone to Sweden, a symbolic act. Additionally the countries of the EU are determined to influence or convince the  countries of the repatriates to accept them. They also are thinking of helping them to create better living conditions etc. now and to support them in their recovering phase, when there will peace.

One thing is for certain: “Whoever doesn’t want our rules, has to go.” R. Schami
“We will change.” Chancellor Merkel

There is one question: what about the rest of the world? > When will the governments of the world start to understand, that war isn’t a solution to
solve political problems?
That war breeds war?
That war creates migration of millions of people all over the world?

* “Frontex”: European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the  External Borders of the Member States of the European Union,

Christl  Stephanblome is a retired German Gymnasium teacher living in Leverkusen, Germany, near Cologne. She taught in Germany for 35 years and  has traveled the world including several visits to regions of Canada.




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