Germany rejects call to bring 4,000 children from Greek migrant camps to Berlin

The German government has rejected a call by the Green Party to bring 4,000 unaccompanied children from overcrowded migrant camps in Greece to Berlin. 

“Roughly 4,000 children, including many girls, many fragile little people are in need of urgent help and it is a requirement of humanity,” said the leader of Germany’s Green Party, Robert Habeck.

Germany’s Interior Ministry rejected the proposal, and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said that granting asylum to the children would only encourage people smugglers by creating a “pull effect”. 

Habeck’s proposal was also met with disagreement from the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) party. 

Member of Parliament Günter Krings (CDU) said that bringing the children to Germany would “bypass all European legal rules” and that this would not change the “unacceptable conditions on site” for the vast majority of people. He suggested that helping them from a distance would be more appropriate.

Moreover, Member of European Parliament Stephan Mayer (CSU) stressed the same position, saying that “if Germany went it alone at the moment, the other EU countries would avoid their responsibility.”

While the German government continues to send trucks full of supplies to the camps, the Greek government has criticised EU member states for refusing to help.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Spokesperson for Greece has said that ninety-nine per cent of the 12,000 migrant children who live in harmful conditions in camps on the Greek islands do not go to formal public schools. 

Greece has been overwhelmed by an increasing influx of migrants from Turkey, many of whom take the deadly Aegean Sea route. The country received more than 70,000 migrants coming from Turkey in 2019, and an additional 100,000 more are expected in 2020.

TMP 30/12/2019

Photo credit: Giannis Papanikos

Photo caption: Idomeni, Greece – March 9, 2016. A family of Syrian refugees sit inside their tent at the makeshift refugee camp of Idomeni at the Greek-Macedonian border.