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Spain begins receiving migrants from Germany as bilateral agreement enters force

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Spain begins receiving migrants from Germany as bilateral agreement enters force

German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks on as she welcomes Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at the chancellery in Berlin
German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks on as she welcomes Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at the chancellery in Berlin
Photo: Reuters/Hannibal Hanschke

Today, Germany can begin sending asylum seekers back to Spain, where they originally arrived before transiting to Germany.

The deal with Berlin points to yet another instance of Madrid’s  assuming a more prominent role in taking in migrants under Pedro Sanchez’s new Socialist Party government. Following the terms of the agreement, Germany can return migrants that have come from Spain within 48 hours of their crossing the border.

With Chancellor Angela Merkel facing pressure from the right on the issue, this deal represents an effort to appease rising anti-migrant and right-wing sentiment. Indeed, Berlin says it is negotiating additional deals with Italy and Greece. However, unlike Sanchez’s welcoming attitude, Rome’s populist administration will be opposed to accepting additional migrants.

For its part, Spain is likely to continue taking in migrants on Sanchez’s watch; his lack of any reciprocal concessions from Germany highlights his government’s seeming eagerness to lead on the issue. More broadly, rather than bloc-wide agreements, expect Germany to pursue similar bilateral deals with other countries on migration in the near future.

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Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

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