Migrant children help clear up rubbish at a refugee camp after a heavy bout of rain on the island of Chios in December | Photo: Getty Images/AFP/L. Gouliamaki
Migrant children help clear up rubbish at a refugee camp after a heavy bout of rain on the island of Chios in December | Photo: Getty Images/AFP/L. Gouliamaki

Two German parties are at loggerheads over how to deal with overcrowded migrant camps in Greece. The Greens are urging the government to come to the aid of 4,000 children, while the CDU said it is "not a solution."

Germany's interior ministry on Sunday rejected calls to grant asylum to refugee children currently living at overcrowded camps on the Greek islands.

Christian Democrat (CDU) Günter Krings, who also serves as parliamentary undersecretary in the interior ministry, responded to the Greens' demand to aid thousands of children who are currently residing in the camps off the Turkish coast.

Krings told regional newspaper Rheinische Post that "unilateral admission campaigns for certain groups are not a solution."

Green party leader Robert Habeck had asked the Berlin government to bring thousands of migrants from the Greek camps to Germany.

"Get the kids out first," Habeck told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

Roughly 4,000 children, including "many girls, many fragile little people," are in need of urgent help and it is a "requirement of humanity," he insisted.

Other ideas on how to tackle the problem

Krings, though, had a very different take on proceedings as he emphasized that helping from a distance was a more appropriate measure. The CDU lawmaker added that the acceptance of children by Germany would "bypass all European legal rules."

"And for the vast majority of people, they would not change the unacceptable conditions on site," he added.

The MEP Stephan Mayer (CSU) expressed similar sentiments. "If Germany went it alone at the moment, the other EU countries would avoid their responsibility," Mayer told the newspapers of the Editor Network Germany (RND).

For the admission of unaccompanied minors, the interior ministry is looking for a unified "solution at European level" and is making efforts in close collaboration with the European Commission to help solve the issue.

Just last week Greece said it expects a further influx of asylum seekers in 2020, predicting up to 100,000 may arrive on its islands from Turkey in the coming year.

jsi/mm (AFP, dpa)

First published: December 22, 2019

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