Skip to main content

Protection for refugees in Germany and the EU

Germany has long advocated a European solution based on solidarity to the refugee issue.
Schutz für Flüchtlinge in Deutschland und der EU
© Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The Basic Law The Basic Law The Basic Law determines that Germany is a constitutional state: All state authorities are subject to judicial control. Section 1 of the Basic Law is of particular relevance. It stipulates that respect for human dignity is the most important aspect of the constitution: “Human dignity shall be… Read more › guarantees politically persecuted persons a right to asylum. In this way, Germany affirms its historical and human­itarian responsibility. In 2015 as part of the so-called “refugee crisis”, 890,000 arrived in Germany seeking protection, and in 2016 about 746,000 persons applied for asylum here. The number of persons seeking protection in Germany has since been falling, with barely 166,000 applications for asylum filed in 2019.

The goal is fair distribution

Dealing with the issue of refugees and asylum-seekers has long been a European matter. It is governed primarily by the Dublin procedure, according to which those seeking protection must apply for asylum in the country they reach first when arriving in the EU. If refugees travel onward and apply for asylum in a different EU state, this state can send them back to the country in which they first arrived. This procedure creates a significantly greater burden on the states on the Mediterranean rim, namely Italy, Spain and Greece, hence Germany and its partners have long been advocating reform of European asylum law. It is one of the items on the agenda for Germany’s EU presidency, with the aim being fair distribution of refugees. The European Commission European Commission The European Commission is head­quartered in Brussels and is a politically independent supra-national body that represents and safeguards the interests of the entire EU. The EU Commission has the right to table proposals (right of initiative) for all common legal acts; as “guardian of the treaties”… Read more › made a proposal as far back as 2016, but this failed in the face of resistance from certain states that would not take refugees under any circumstances.

Germany now wishes to create new impetus for a European solution to the refugee issue based on solidarity. The Federal Government Federal Government The Federal Government and cabinet is made up of the Federal Chancellor and the Federal Ministers. While the Chancellor holds the power to issue directives, the ministers have departmental powers, meaning that they independently run their respective ministries in the framework of those directives… Read more › is also committed to improving refugee protection and supporting refugees in their host countries.