The federal government has reacted to the judgments of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the family reunification of refugees. In order to implement the decisions as quickly as possible, the Federal Foreign Office instructed its missions abroad on September 9 to "priority process applications for parental reunification that have been pending so far," according to a government response to a request from the left-wing faction.
The newspapers of the Funke media group first reported on this, the text is also available from the German Press Agency. Regarding the subsequent immigration of children, the diplomatic missions abroad were instructed "that a child is to be regarded as a minor if it has reached the age of majority after filing the asylum application but before filing the visa application and the visa application was filed within three months after recognition of refugee status". In addition, visa applications for which the child is still a minor at the time of the decision but will soon be of age should "continue to be given priority".
Adulthood is a legal sticking point
At the beginning of August, the judges in Luxembourg had ruled, among other things, that family members should not be refused reunification because a minor child had come of age during ongoing proceedings. The background was two such cases in which German authorities had rejected applications for family reunification for this reason.
Around 330 administrative procedures are pending at the diplomatic missions, for the outcome of which case law is relevant. "The same applies to around 250 other disputes that are pending before the judiciary." The Federal Government is "currently still in exchange" on "remaining legal questions about the interpretation and implementation of the ECJ decisions".
Federal Foreign Office sets up its own department
In order to expand the processing of family reunification for persons entitled to protection, a separate department for family reunification is currently being set up in the Federal Office for Foreign Affairs.
The left's refugee policy spokeswoman, Clara Bünger, welcomed the government's steps. However, the damage already done by "the federal government's attitude of refusal for years" is immense, she told the Funke newspapers: "Unaccompanied refugee children in need of protection were unlawfully separated from their parents for years, parents were denied the right to bring their children with them."