Deportation as Trademark

Protests against latest EU anti-refugee plans grow in runup to meeting of EU interior ministers. Brussels and Berlin continue to differentiate between white and non-white refugees.

BRUSSELS/BERLIN (Own report) – Strong protest is being raised against the EU’s anti-refugee plans in the runup to tomorrow’s meeting of the EU’s interior ministers. At their meeting in Luxembourg, the ministers will also decide on the comprehensive introduction of border procedures, the associated detainment of refugees at the EU’s external borders, as well as the expansion of alleged safe third countries. According to an appeal signed by more than 50 associations, including a number of human rights organizations, national protestant churches and charity associations, these measures are “destabilizing the very foundations of rule of law.” They are being adopted at a time when, by taking in Ukrainian refugees, European countries are confirming that they are capable of humanitarian treatment of war victims – however, only when these are white Europeans. The fact that the EU accepts war refugees from Ukraine, but not from Sudan, is being closely registered beyond Europe’s borders. While the chances that non-white refugees will find refuge within the EU are sinking, the German government is recruiting medical staff members in Brazil to fill poorly paid jobs in Germany.

Border Procedures and Camps

The plans for the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), which the EU’s interior ministers will decide at their meeting tomorrow in Luxemburg, are characterized by refugee and human rights organizations as a comprehensive disenfranchisement of people suffering an acute emergency. For example, so-called border procedures are planned wherein no asylum application will be examined, but rather only whether one is allowed to apply for asylum. In principle, the latter may be refused, if a refugee arrived via a so-called safe third country. The criteria for determining, which countries may be considered safe third countries, is also being watered down. Thus, war refugees can be deported at any time, for example, to Turkey. Even the deportation to a distant country, such as Rwanda, is possible. Legal assistance – if at all – will now only be available with limitations, and legal recourse will also be reduced. The means for filing action is a fiction. The border procedures will take place even before entry onto the territory, in other words, outside the bounds of the sovereign territory of the country carrying out the proceedings. During the duration of the border procedures, refugees may be prevented from traveling further, i.e., being de facto locked in camps.[1]

Devaluation of Fundamental Rights

In Germany, the project is being met with a rare broad protest. More than 50 associations, including numerous human rights and refugee aid organizations, several national Protestant churches, the Diakonie, the German Caritas Association, Bread for the World and various other associations have signed an appeal, which warns that the planned measures are keeping abreast of the current “trend of devaluating European fundamental and human rights” and are destabilizing “the foundations of rule of law.” The German government should not support these measures.[2] In an open letter, around 700 lawyers and jurists warn that, should Germany support the EU project, it would make “the exclusion of refugees in Germany, their incarceration and deportation its trademark.”[3] The resentment has become so massive that the members of the government from Green Party – whose constituents are disproportionally represented in the said organizations – are demanding that, to limit repercussions, at least, minors and families with children be exempted from the border procedures and internment in camps.[4] However, there is no talk of abandoning the project entirely.

White and Non-White Refugees

These measures are being decided at a time, when the reception of Ukrainian refugees within the EU demonstrates that even Europe is capable of dealing halfway decently with people forced to flee – at least in cases of white refugees. Non-white citizens of African countries, who were studying in Ukraine and also had to flee the war, were not given protection in Germany and are directly threatened with deportation.[5] The difference made by the EU and Germany, between white and non-white refugees is being closely registered beyond European borders – particularly in the home countries of the non-European refugees – and is widely characterized as an openly racist practice. The fact that, contrary to the Ukrainian war refugees, those from Sudan cannot find refuge in Europe is currently being protested. If some of them want to flee to Europe, they must risk death to cross the Mediterranean Sea, a commentator from South Africa recently noted.[6] In effect, “Sudanese refugees are refused asylum in Europe, ... denied,” because “they are not ‘civilized’ (read ‘white’) victims of conflict like the Ukrainians.”

Better Bad Wages

While the EU is tearing down international legal standards, to keep unwanted non-Europeans out of Europe, over the past few days, Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Green Party) and Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) have traveled to Brazil to recruit well-trained workers for traditionally poorly paying German jobs that not enough people are willing to do in this country. Today, a five-digit number of jobs in the nursing sector are vacant. The PwC consulting firm warned that by 2025, there could be 1.8 million job vacancies in the German health sector alone.[7] According to estimates, already today, between 300,000 and 600,000 people are working in round-the-clock nursing, mostly poorly paid, often under desolate working conditions, many originating from eastern or southern Europe.[8] Also today, there are around 60,000 immigrant doctors are working in Germany, of a total of 421,000 doctors, making up 14 percent.[9] Baerbock and Heil now want to recruit additional nursing personnel from Brazil to Germany, in effect luring them with German low wages, being better than Brazilian low wages.[10]

At the Expense of the more Impoverished

The consequences of labor poaching in the health sector are well known. Training doctors, for example, is expensive. A country, such as Germany, that is systematically importing its doctors from abroad, is saving the costs of training at the expense of the countries, where the doctors completed their studies, thereby also creating a lack of doctors in that country. Romania is one example, where for years, thousands of doctors were lost to emigration to more wealthy countries – including Germany. Today, through countermeasures, Romania has again nearly 65,000 doctors, a seventh of the amount in Germany, with only a fourth of Germany’s population, thus still not enough.[11] Labor poaching in the nursing sector also has grave consequences. Currently the medical care in Ghana can no longer meet the country’s needs, because a growing number of personnel have been lured abroad – and in the case of Ghana, particularly to Great Britain. Currently, there is recruitment of personnel “driven by six or seven high-income countries” targeting particularly poorer countries, according to the International Council of Nurses (ICN) – at the expense of those which can least afford “to lose their nurses.”[12] However, those who seek to flee to Europe from these countries, are rebuffed at the border – with even more efficiency in the future, given the new border procedures and camps.


[1] Haftlager an den Außengrenzen und Abschiebungen in Drittstaaten: Ist das die Zukunft? 12.05.2023.

[2] Keine Kompromisse auf Kosten des Flüchtlingsschutzes. Gemeinsames Statement von über 50 Organisationen.

[3] Das Recht auf Schutz darf nicht abgeschafft werden. 26.05.2023.

[4] Grüne gegen Grenzverfahren für Familien mit Kindern. 05.06.2023.

[5] Claudia Heissenberg: Zerplatzte Träume – Afrikanische Studierende aus der Ukraine. 13.02.2023.

[6] Tafi Mhaka: Sudanese refugees deserve as much help as Ukrainians. 12.05.2023.

[7] Luise Sammann: Warum viele kommen und wieder gehen. 08.05.2023.

[8] Betreuungskräfte aus Osteuropa: Immer da und ausgenutzt? 09.01.2023.

[9] Stefanie Hanke: In Deutschland arbeiten: Woher kommen ausländische Ärztinnen und Ärzte? 24.05.2023.

[10] Tjerk Brühwiller, Matthias Wyssuwa: Patient mit Kammerflimmern. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 06.06.2023.

[11] Catalina Mihai: Romania seeks EU-wide solution to address shortage of doctors. 05.05.2023.

[12] Naomi Grimley, Camilla Horrox: Ghana patients in danger as nurses head for NHS in UK – medics. 06.06.2023.