The consultations are about new asylum procedures directly at Europe's external borders. Migrants with little chance of being admitted, for example from Turkey, Pakistan or Albania, are to be sent straight back to their home countries so that they do not even come to the EU. These urgent procedures should last a maximum of twelve weeks, two of which are intended for a possible complaint by the applicants.
There has been massive criticism of the reform in Germany from the ranks of the Greens and SPD, but also from refugee organizations and cultural workers. They fear human rights violations in the asylum centers at the borders and appeal to the federal government not to agree.
Faeser admitted that the present compromise paper by the Swedish EU Council Presidency was "very difficult for us in Germany". She fights "very hard to ensure that we don't get families with small children involved in the border procedure". In a public discussion, however, only Portugal, Ireland and Luxembourg supported the German initiative, which Faeser justified with human and children's rights.
If other countries do not move on the issue, Germany could theoretically agree to the asylum compromise and record its reservations in a so-called protocol note. This is how the federal government proceeded with the combustion engine shutdown.
Without German approval, the reform would fail. This also applies to Italy. Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi warned in Luxembourg that there would be additional burdens for his country if there were no changes. "We still remember the terrible Lampedusa shipwreck in Italy," he said, referring to the capsizing of an overcrowded refugee ship about ten years ago, in which almost 400 people drowned.
Austria's Minister of the Interior, Gerhard Karner, also called for asylum procedures in so-called safe third countries, which include Tunisia and Algeria. In this way, the EU could "prevent people from crossing the sea and drowning," argued Karner. The federal government rejects such a tightening.
The EU countries have been struggling to find a common asylum system since the refugee crisis in 2015. Faeser said in the ARD "Morgenmagazin" that the EU countries could achieve "real solidarity, namely a fairer distribution". Mediterranean countries such as Italy, Greece or Spain have been demanding a redistribution of refugees for years because they feel overburdened.
According to the compromise proposal, Eastern European countries such as Hungary and Poland, which absolutely do not want to accept any migrants - except from Ukraine - should in future pay for their accommodation in other countries. The last talk was around 20,000 euros per refugee. EU Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson called this a "duty of solidarity".
An agreement requires a qualified majority of the member states, i.e. at least 15 of the 27 states, which together make up 65 percent of the EU population. After that, the countries still have to come to an agreement with the European Parliament. A year before the European elections, this is considered difficult because the positions are very far apart.