Quartz reports: Germany, which has a better track record than most European countries on sheltering refugees, has made a move to address one of the more lunatic aspects of the European immigration crisis. The country has said (link in German) it will stop sending away refugees of the five-year war in Syria, and instead process their asylum claims in Germany.
Why doesn’t that already happen? It’s the result of a 2003 piece of legislation that human rights organizations have long been describing as a “trap.”
The legislation is called the Dublin Protocol, and was designed to stop migrants traveling through Europe to countries with favorable regimes before claiming asylum. If people need asylum, the argument ran, they should be claiming it straight away — and the state in which they do so should remain responsible for processing it.
There is a huge problem with this logic, however, and many northern European countries have chosen to turn a blind eye to it: geography. Most people fleeing from the wars in Syria or Afghanistan, as well as those trying to get to Europe for economic reasons, come by land or by sea. The land route brings them through Turkey, which is not a member of the EU, to Greece and Bulgaria, which are.
The sea routes, which are much more perilous and have led to thousands of deaths this year alone, lead migrants to Greece, to Italy, or to the islands of Lampedusa and Malta. Without the funds or paperwork necessary, most asylum claimants aren’t able to fly into the airports of northern European countries. [Continue reading…]