Last week, during a low-period of political intrigue and discussion in Germany....the CSU (the Bavarian sister party of the national CDU Party)....came out with some comments that suggested national discussions on immigration, and suggesting a new direction.
The general focus of the comments? The CSU suggests that the current asylum-approval process is broken, and they want it replaced with the Swiss model.
What is the Swiss model?
First, you can only apply for asylum.....if you've made to Swiss territory or to a Swiss airport. You can't walk into any embassy and ask for it.
Second, once you sign the paperwork....you go to a Swiss asylum center. The rule of each center is that there is a 5PM curfew. As long as you are waiting for approval to move to the next step.....you can walk around on Swiss soil but need to be back in the compound by 5PM....daily.
Third, most of the centers are in rural areas.....away from urban populations and large cities. They used public-built projects relating to national defense structure....which were in the mountainous areas. It makes sense from a spending standpoint, but it's not the image that foreigners have of Zurich or other big towns in the country.
Fourth, the paperwork process moves rather fast. In Germany....the average is running close to nine months for approval. The Swiss generally do it in a matter of one month. It should be added....if you fail the process....they don't waste time on second or third opportunities or legal argument....you need to leave Swiss soil and return to your starting point. The Swiss added enough people to approval process....to handle the up-swing in numbers since 2012. The Germans? They haven't reacted....using the same number of approval personnel as they've had for years.
Somewhere in this mix is the Dublin Rule. Basically.....you arrive in some EU country and get picked up by their cops.....then finger-printed. You start asylum paperwork and then realize that your entry country (likely Greece or Italy) isn't going to approve your paperwork and send you home. So you pack up and take a train to some other 'friendly' country (Netherlands, France, Germany, etc). After they start the paperwork.....they find your fingerprint in the system and note you started out in country X.....so they don't have to help you. You will have to return to Italy or Greece. The odd factor in this? There's virtually no help in Italy or Greece for asylum seekers or immigrants. In some ways, based on comments in various newspapers.....you end up worse-off than you were in the old country.
Where does this focus on the Swiss program go for the German government? I suspect that they need some type of replacement strategy because they finally realize plan "A" simply isn't working. Nor can they see the numbers lessening over 2015 (likely only to increase).
My humble guess is that a new strategy will be developed by June, which has some Swiss characteristics. More review personnel, and the approval process shouldn't take longer than six weeks. More people failing the process? Yes, I'd predict that. But once you start to have more turnover and force more to return to their country.....these centers in Germany will be less crowded and start to decrease in number. It might take six to twelve months to see the results flip.....but it'd likely take this topic out of the 2017 election.....something that political folks fear currently.
If you were in charge of the German government.....you have this brief window of roughly eighteen months to fix this issue, before the run-up of the 2017 election occurs. You need a method that seems fair.....curtails the current wave....and at least shows some reaction to the immigration issues at hand.
The parties that will stand against the change? The SPD and Green Party will likely voice negative issues. Both the Linke Party and AfD will go the opposite direction.
Bottom line? Something is going to change.....maybe a little.....maybe a lot. But immigration in 2016 will hopefully be lesser of a topic than it is today.