One talks about “smuggler marketing”, the other sees a responsibility for refugees. At a meeting in Hesse, the interior ministers of Luxembourg and Austria in particular clash.

Three months after the start of the Russian attack, the European states are still close when it comes to taking in war refugees from Ukraine – this does not apply to the planned reform of the common asylum policy.

This became clear on Tuesday at a meeting of the German-speaking interior and integration ministers in Königstein, Hesse. Austria’s Minister of the Interior, Gerhard Karner, subsequently reported at a joint press conference that further steps to take in Ukrainian people from Moldova had been agreed. At the same time, he emphasized that it was important to do something to counter “smuggler marketing”, including by making a clear distinction between war refugees and “economic refugees”. Smuggler gangs are now using the help for the Ukraine refugees to give people from other countries such as India, Pakistan, Tunisia or Turkey the impression that everyone is now welcome in Europe and can work immediately.

Luxembourg’s Minister for Immigration and Asylum, Jean Asselborn, opposed this. He said that as long as there is suffering in Africa, Libya and elsewhere, and “people who are so cornered,” there will be boat people in the Mediterranean. This is not about hundreds of thousands, but about a smaller number of people seeking protection who have to be helped. He therefore hopes that the French EU Council Presidency will succeed in persuading a larger number of states to participate in the distribution of these people within Europe.

Swiss Federal Councilor Karin Keller-Sutter said it was important to make progress in building a platform for vulnerable people in Europe. This can also prevent individuals from applying for social assistance in more than one country. At the same time, she emphasized that this was by no means a mass phenomenon.