Interim assessment of the German Council Presidency
We MEPs from the Green Group on Europe have drawn up an interim balance sheet and are now providing a Overview of the different topics. On asylum and migration issues, Germany has blocked a lot and achieved little during this period, and the crises at the external borders have worsened during the German Council Presidency. Here are the assessments of my areas of work at a glance:
Mass camps for refugees at EU external borders
After the Fire in Moria there was no coordinated redistribution of refugees. The homeless people were shipped to a new Moria on an old shooting range, where living conditions are even worse. The German Council Presidency has failed to work towards distribution and an end to the mass camps at the EU's external borders.
Green Position: The Greens have called for the immediate evacuation and redistribution of refugees from Moria.
Common European Asylum System
The work on the asylum and migration pact is only in its infancy, but there is reason to fear a deterioration of European asylum law. The German government is in favour of mass processing of asylum seekers under detention-like conditions in future border procedures.
Green Position: This creates more morias instead of preventing them. Protection seekers must be redistributed from the external borders as quickly as possible and given fast, fair procedures based on the rule of law. We have also set out our proposals for a fair and efficient asylum system in Europe in this position paper set out.
Asylum and Migration Fund:
In the ongoing trilogue negotiations with the Council of Ministers on the asylum and migration fund, the German Council Presidency is opposed to direct EU funding for municipalities willing to receive asylum seekers.
Green position: Municipalities that want to take in people should be able to help and be supported. Solidarity should be promoted through financial incentives.
Development cooperation instruments:
In the discussions on the largest foreign policy and development cooperation instrument of the next seven-year EU budget - the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) - the German Presidency managed to reach a good compromise with the European Parliament on new development cooperation funds. By introducing human rights guarantees, the fund will hopefully be able to leverage private investment while ensuring, among other things, the safety of workers in the implementation of projects.
2020 is an important year for EU-Africa relations. The German government had announced before the start of its presidency that it would make Africa a focus of its work. However, due to the pandemic as well as a lack of creative planning to look for alternative solutions, consultation with civil society in partner countries was not successful, while important decisions were taken in developing a joint strategy for the European and African Union.
Green position: The implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris climate targets should be financed not only with public but also with private funds. Binding human rights and sustainability criteria as well as transparency and sufficient control mechanisms are essential when awarding and implementing investments in developing countries. Harmful exports of electronic waste or skimmed milk powder with vegetable fats have been flooding the African market for years - to the detriment of local production, the environment and health.