June 14, 2024

Switzerland turns into a transit country - why Switzerland allows migrants to pass - News

Switzerland turns into a transit country – why Switzerland allows migrants to pass – News

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Up to 100 migrants cross the eastern border of Switzerland every day. They will have to return to Austria, but move on.

In St. Gallen-Buchs, on the border with Austria, the same scene is currently showing: migrants, numbering up to a thousand people a week, arrive by train from Austria, are checked by border guards and are removed from the train. Most of them are men who come from Afghanistan, Tunisia and Morocco. For comparison: last winter it was three times lower with 300 migrants per week.

Most of them applied for asylum in Austria, but did not wait for the decision and traveled across the Swiss border. According to the Dublin Convention, Switzerland must return them to Austria. But the migrants are coming back and advancing, mostly towards France.

So the authorities in Buchs gave up trying to return the migrants to Austria. Last winter, they set up a special reception center to be able to properly handle the readmission process. But: “We found that the efforts and costs were disproportionate to the effect achieved,” says Markus Kobler, head of Eastern Customs at BAZG.

Expensive idle

So the reception center was expensively idle and was abandoned in March in consultation with the canton and the federal government. Switzerland no longer sends any readmission requests to Vienna – at least not to migrants transiting at the eastern border.

The Border Guard is limited to comprehensive border control. In other words: personal, identity and possibly baggage checks with a view to finding out “whether entry requirements are met,” in the words of Markus Kobler. Most of the time they are not. The necessary visa is often missing. But if the immigrants are not wanted by the police, they are allowed to leave.

Reto Cormann, media spokesperson for the State Secretariat for Migration, says that Switzerland cannot detain migrants on legal grounds: “If they are not there, it does not make sense for us to implement the Dublin procedure with Austria for these people.” Florian Schneider, a spokesman for the cantonal police of St. Gallen, “Merely producing paper so that it is produced does not lead to anything,” he said.

Simply producing paper so that it is produced does not lead to anything.

Did Switzerland resign? Are you no longer bound by international agreements? SEM’s Ritu Corman disagrees: “We are doing our best to comply with the Dublin procedure. But the immigrant must be present for us so that we can implement this procedure at all.”

fight smugglers

The Dublin Convention has been under pressure for some time. It works more badly than right, the countries that have an external border with the European Union are demanding a fairer distribution of immigrants. Solutions are being sought – Switzerland is also involved. Last week, the responsible federal chancellor, Karin Keller-Sutter, agreed with Austria’s interior minister on additional operations against people smugglers and cross-border patrols in rail traffic.

What is the Dublin Convention?


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The agreement applies to 32 countries, i.e. all the countries of the European Union and four associate countries such as Switzerland. Regulates the responsibility of the corresponding asylum procedure. The country in which the asylum seeker can prove his entry must first implement the asylum procedure.

Meanwhile, control of the eastern border continues. The work is intense, says Markus Kobler, head of eastern customs at BAZG. “At the moment, immigration in Buchs is a large part of my available resources.” You are challenged, but not confused. And the train from Austria is already arriving.

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