German opposition slams EU refugee plan | News | DW | 06.02.2017
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German opposition slams EU refugee plan

The Left and Green parties have blasted a plan to return migrants to Libya. The criticism comes as EU foreign ministers meet to discuss the scheme in Brussels.

Opposition politicians in Germany on Monday slammed a new European Union plan to stem the flow of migration in the Mediterranean. The Green and Left parties had particularly sharp criticism for Social Democrat (SPD) parliamentary leader Thomas Oppermann, who has suggest that migrant boats be sent directly back to Libya.

"It is hardly surprising that asylum-hardliner Thomas Oppermann is calling on the Interior Ministry to build refugee camps in North Africa," said Green party co-chair Simone Peter to the "Berliner Zeitung" newspaper. "He was also a willing soldier for earlier programs that sought to disenfranchise refugees."

Peter then extended her critique to the ruling coalition of the SPD and Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU): "Instead of fighting the things that cause people to flee, the CDU and SPD are continuing to support dubious regimes, deliver weapons to crisis regions, and spend little on development aid."

"And instead of being offered humanitarian visas and the distribution of refugees across Europe, these people are instead being forced back to dangerous migration routes."

EU leaders agree to keep migrants in Libya

On Friday, EU leaders met in the island nation of Malta to discuss how best to reduce migration from northern Africa across the Mediterranean, an often fatal journey for many migrants. The final agreement includes plans to bolster the Libyan coast guard, set up "safe" refugee camps in Libya, and incentives for migrants to return to their country of origin.

Rights groups have warned that the instability in Libya would likely lead to this plan's having troubling consequences. On Monday, German Left party co-chair Dietmar Bartsch echoed these sentiments.

"You can't sign a contract with a de facto nonexistent government in Libya," said Bartsch, adding that the treaty was unrealistic.

The comments from the German opposition came ahead of a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday. The main topic of discussion will be the plans to return migrants to Libya.

es/tj (AFP, KNA)

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