German minister opposes asylum screening of minors at EU borders

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The German government is fighting to exempt unaccompanied minors and families with children under 18 from the planned asylum checks at EU borders, according to Family Affairs Minister Lisa Paus, reported dpa.

"Sending children under the age of 18 into border procedures and thus into a highly precarious situation would mean an enormous risk to [their] well-being," Paus told dpa, citing the risk of re-traumatization.

Germany was working hard to secure an exemption in Brussels in the negotiations on the reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), added Paus, who is from the Green Party.

Adequate accommodation and care for children with their specific needs cannot be guaranteed in border procedures, she said.

The EU member states are currently trying to agree on the main features of a reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), which has been hotly contested for years.

The EU's interior ministers will meet in Luxembourg on Thursday to discuss the reform. Among other issues, a key question is whether there should be preliminary checks of asylum applications at Europe's external borders.

Previously, the head of the parliamentary group of Germany's pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) — another member of the country's coalition government — had spoken in favour of including minors in such procedures.

"At first glance, it is not comprehensible to me why rigid age limits should be drawn. Uniform rules are needed, and these can also apply to under-18s," Christian Dürr told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper.

  •  EU borders
  •  Asylum screening


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