From file: A migrant boat rescued by Sea-Eye's Alan Kurdi | Photo: Joris Grahl / Sea-Eye
From file: A migrant boat rescued by Sea-Eye's Alan Kurdi | Photo: Joris Grahl / Sea-Eye

The German government has not received any migrants who were rescued from boats in the central Mediterranean since September. A total of 913 people have been transferred to Germany since June 2018, according to the interior ministry.

The German government has not taken in migrants rescued from boats in the Mediterranean Sea in nearly ten months. That's according to the interior ministry in response to a parliamentary question submitted by the Left Party (Die Linke).

Between June 2018 and September 2020, Germany agreed to take in a total of 1,314 migrants, following numerous rescue operations in the central Mediterranean by private NGOs and state authorities in southern Europe.

But only 913 migrants were actually transferred from Italy and Malta, news agency epd reports, citing government figures. The government document cites the following reasons for why transfers did not taken place: a security check was negative (72 cases), the person didn't agree to the transfer (103 cases), the person absconded (184 cases), or another member state was found to be responsible (6 cases).

EU distribution mechanism

Germany in the past has been a vocal proponent of establishing a distribution mechanism for rescued migrants and refugees within the European Union, based on the principle of solidarity. In September 2019, several EU states reached an agreement, establishing a temporary redistribution mechanism, which had been propagated by the German interior minister, Horst Seehofer. This scheme however ran out after six months, and only a few states had committed to it.

Following its expiration, Germany agreed to hosting asylum seekers from Italy or Malta on a case-by-case basis.

Statistics show that Germany made fewer and fewer pledges from March 2020 onward. The last time Germany officially agreed to take in migrants was after a rescue operation by the German NGO Sea-Eye in which the crew of the Alan Kurdi ship brought 125 migrants to safety and disembarked them in Italy on September 25, 2020.

Germany agreed to take in 30 of the 125 rescuees, but none of them have entered Germany so far. The government said that nine of them had not given their consent to the transfer. In some cases, the transfer reportedly didn't place because of a negative result of a security check, and some migrants absconded. For some of the migrants, no explanation was provided as to why they have not been brought to Germany.

Left party calls suspension 'disgraceful'

Left party parliamentarian Ulla Jelpke criticized the German governing coalition, saying that it is "discraceful that the federal government has not committed to receiving refugees rescued from distress at sea in nearly ten months."

She said Germany should not turn its back on countries that receive migrants at the EU's external borders. Since the start of this year, 19,119 people have been brought to Italy and 250 to Malta following sea rescues, according to figures provided to Germany’s interior ministry by Italian and Maltese authorities.

With epd


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