Faeser called the EU agreement an "unprecedented compromise". She emphasized: "We have overcome a deep division in Europe. We control the external borders so that the borders within Europe can remain open."
Regarding the demand from the Union for controls of internal EU borders, she said: "I want to defend the heart of the European Union - open borders inside." She added: "Raising barriers again would set us back decades."
The demand had been made by the state interior ministers of the CDU and by party leader Friedrich Merz. Hesse's Minister of the Interior Peter Beuth (CDU) told the "Bild" newspaper on Saturday that Faeser should "no longer ignore the demands for situational border controls". Saxony's Interior Minister Armin Schuster (CDU) told the newspaper: "Due to the current high level of migration pressure, there is still a need for temporary, situation-dependent EU internal border controls, including on the border with Poland."
Merz wrote on Twitter on Sunday that if the protection of the EU's external borders is not sufficiently possible for the time being, "the internal borders must be better protected". Each country has "the right and the duty to control immigration into its own territory".
Since the refugee crisis of 2015, there have been border controls with Austria to prevent migrants from neighboring countries from continuing their journey to Germany.
The EU interior ministers had agreed on a compromise that, for the first time, provides for asylum procedures at the EU's external borders, but also for migrants to be distributed among the EU states. Countries that refuse to accept migrants will have to pay a fine of €20,000 for each migrant into a Brussels-managed fund. Germany's demand that families with children should be excluded from border procedures as a matter of principle did not find a majority.
At the Evangelical Church Congress in Nuremberg, Scholz emphasized the joint responsibility of the EU states to achieve "a fairer process" in the distribution of refugees in Europe. That is why it was agreed to establish a "solidarity mechanism".
Faster procedures and progress in digitization are needed to check whether someone can stay because there are reasons for protection. Anyone who cannot bring up these protective reasons must also be told: "You have to go back." That was necessary "to protect the right to asylum," emphasized the Chancellor.
Baerbock also defended the compromise. She spoke at the Church Congress of a "difficult decision". Without agreement to border procedures, there would have been no agreement at EU level; the situation would have deteriorated further because there would have been no distribution of the refugees in Europe and again internal internal borders would have existed.
With the European solution that has now been reached, "the majority of refugees have a chance of things getting better," said Baerbock. However, the "bitter truth" is that the introduction of border procedures will make things worse for some.
CDU General Secretary Mario Czaja called the compromise a "first important step towards limiting illegal immigration into the European Union". But that was not enough, Czaja told the newspapers of the Bayern media group and called on the federal government, among other things, to expand the so-called safe countries of origin.
Faeser said the reform of the asylum system should be passed by next spring: "We want the common EU asylum system to be completed before the European elections next year." This will take place in early June 2024.
The European Greens announced opposition to the reform plans. "As Greens in the European Parliament, we do not consider the Council decision to be viable - both because it undermines human rights standards and does not provide any long-term, practicable solutions for a sustainable common European asylum policy," said co-group leader Terry Reintke to the RND newspapers.