Over 70% of asylum seekers arriving in the country lack any registration, despite coming through other EU states, says the chancellor
The number of asylum seekers arriving in Germany is "too high," and the migration situation needs to be changed, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Saturday while speaking to broadcaster RND.
"Things cannot remain as they are now: more than 70 percent of all refugees who arrive in Germany have not been registered beforehand, even though almost all of them have been in another EU country," Scholz stated, promising to curb irregular migration.
The German government is seeking to protect its borders while staying "fully united in stopping irregular migration into the European Union," Scholz said. Berlin stands by its decision to tighten border checks with Poland, and expects the measures to yield results.
"We hope that this will be noticeable quickly," the chancellor stated.
Germany stepped up police patrols on its borders with fellow EU members Poland and the Czech Republic earlier this week. "We must stop the cruel business of smugglers who put human lives at risk for maximum profit," Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said on Wednesday, announcing the decision. According to the minister, nearly a quarter of migrants entering the country had paid thousands of dollars to get into the EU via the Mediterranean Sea route or overland through the Balkans, and ultimately to Germany.
Announcing the initial proposal to step up border checks on the frontier with Poland, Scholz cited the ongoing cash-for-visa scandal unfolding in the country. According to a media investigation, Polish officials offered travel visas in exchange for bribes, with a vast majority of recipients of the illegally issued documents using them to travel into third Schengen states, the US, and elsewhere.
Some 350,000 visas were issued under the scheme, according to estimates, with the illegal services openly advertised by corrupt officials on social media platforms such as TikTok. Scholz invoking the scandal was not taken lightly in Warsaw, with Poland threatening to increase checks on its border with Germany.