Up to 1,500 children from the refugee camps on the greek agais islands are to be taken in by other european states in the coming weeks.
The admission of these minors in need of special protection is "not a question of months, but rather of weeks," a spokesman for the federal interior ministry said in berlin on monday. He emphasized that this humanitarian action was not a solo german effort.
SPD and union had decided in the night at a meeting in the chancellor’s office that greece should be supported in the "difficult humanitarian situation of about 1000 to 1500 children on the greek islands". It is about children who are seriously ill or unaccompanied and younger than 14 years, most of them girls. Negotiations are currently underway at the european level to organize a "coalition of the willing" to take over these children. "Within this framework, germany stands ready to take on an appropriate share," the coalition announced.
In addition, the party leaders stressed the need to provide humanitarian aid in the embattled syrian province of idlib. Nearly a million people were displaced there after the russian-backed syrian government forces advanced on them. Whether they can be supplied with aid, however, also depends on how stable the ceasefire that russia and turkey have agreed on is.
According to coalition sources, the minors to be admitted include 95 sick children, some of whom have already been taken to the greek mainland for treatment. They are to be resettled together with their families. In addition, according to reports, faster processing of applications from unaccompanied minors for family reunification is being considered.
But it is not yet clear how many EU countries will join in and how many of the children will be brought to germany. The spokesman of the ministry of interior said: "the first countries have declared their readiness."Government spokesman steffen seibert stressed, however, that "unfortunately there is no prospect" that all 27 states will participate. EU commission president ursula von der leyen said in brussel that there were positive reactions also from france, portugal, luxembourg and finland.
A mechanism to organize such humanitarian admissions already exists in brussels. It had been established for the distribution of refugees rescued from distress at sea who arrive in malta or italy. However, there are also some states that participate, but do not communicate this publicly – in order not to provide political opponents from the right-wing camp at home with ammunition.
Federal interior minister horst seehofer buries the coalition committee’s agreement. He sees himself confirmed in his line that order and limitation of migration are prerequisites for humanitarianism, said the CSU politician. "This is about the most vulnerable, some of whom have been in a precarious situation for months," he added. He wants to continue his efforts "so that together with other EU countries we can quickly reach a sustainable european solution".
The chairwoman of the interior committee of the bundestag, andrea lindholz (CSU), explained that it is about children under 14 years of age who are in need of treatment and unaccompanied, among them many girls. CSU leader markus soder called the coalition’s decision a "sensible humanitarian decision".
The chairwoman of the council of experts for integration and migration (SVR), petra bendel, called for further measures. She said: "as long as the EU cannot agree on how to distribute the refugees arriving in greece among its member states, pragmatic and flexible solutions must be found."Germany should lead the way and not wait for other countries to assume responsibility.
"The federal government’s decision is a step in the right direction," said christoph waffenschmidt, chairman of the board of the children’s aid organization world vision. But it could not stop there. More than 14,000 fled children are currently stranded on the greek islands.
The left-wing parliamentary group in the bundestag made even more far-reaching demands. Its spokeswoman for domestic policy, ulla jelpke, said: "the mass camps on the greek islands must be completely dismantled."People "trapped at the turkish-greek border" must also be allowed to enter the eu. They had the right to a fair asylum procedure.
The turkish president recep tayyip erdogan had a. February declares EU border open to migrants. Thousands of people then set off for greece. However, many of them – mainly syrian families – have since returned to their previous homes in turkey.