(Bloomberg) -- The German government acknowledged that the high-profile migration plans touted by its neighbors aren’t showing great results. But since the issue exposes its key political weakness it’s preparing to push ahead anyway, seeking to fend off a resurgent right-wing that’s ready to pounce.

The UK has yet to deport a single migrant under its flagship Rwanda deportation deal. A comparable Italian arrangement with Albania has been marred by delays. But none of that matters after Chancellor Olaf Scholz got a beating in European parliamentary elections, and having read the room needs to show he’s tacking right.

It’s a tough spot for Scholz to be in. His conservative predecessor, Angela Merkel, welcomed more than a million Syrian refugees — a policy that’s sometimes credited with hastening the rebirth of the far-right. Under the current chancellor that group enjoys unprecedented levels of voter support. To make matters worse, after inheriting Merkel’s job, Scholz has found himself helming an unruly and unpopular coalition that’s frequently had to renege on its principles to maintain power.

In a sign of its reluctance to embrace third-country migration strategies, the government has been candid about the lackluster precedents. These methods of deterring migrants “can’t have a major effect on limiting refugee numbers — as the experiences of Italy and the UK have shown,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, a senior member of Scholz’s Social Democrats, said Friday in an emailed statement. 

She was echoing her boss who on Thursday night told reporters such initiatives would do little to dent Germany’s migration problem.

But the government committed to studying them anyway, and Scholz that evening met with leaders of the country’s 16 federal states to discuss how to implement their own version of the model. 

A series of violent attacks on Germany’s streets has stoked a heated debate about security and forced the chancellor’s hand. His Social Democrats had previously resisted such plans, but the rise of the right-wing Alternative for Germany party, or AfD, has encouraged the troubled coalition to consider fresh ways to deter new arrivals.

Germany is in talks with Uzbekistan to sketch out a migration pact that involves deporting Afghan asylum seekers to the country so that Berlin can avoid dealing directly with the Taliban, Bloomberg reported last week.

That remains the case even while other countries’ versions have fallen short of their architects’ expectations. Stymied by legal obstacles, the UK hasn’t flown any migrants to Rwanda under its plan, while a March deadline for Italy’s arrangement to take effect came and went after it was also challenged in the courts. 

The AfD picked up new seats in European parliamentary elections earlier this month, and looks set to come first in three state elections scheduled in eastern Germany for September. 

It’s against that backdrop that leaders in the more conservative German states have called for the federal government to come up with measures that would allow for asylum-processing centers to be sited in third countries. That includes members of the main opposition Christian Democrats, who share Scholz’s enmity toward the AfD.

“The results of the EU elections were alarming,” Boris Rhein, the Christian Democratic state premier of Hesse, told reporters after Thursday’s meeting with the chancellor. “We expect from the federal government that it will develop concrete models for the implementation of asylum processes in third and transit states.”

Under one proposal Germany’s considering, the Uzbek government would take a limited number of Afghan asylum seekers rejected from Germany and then send them onwards to neighboring Afghanistan with the help of a private airline offering flights to Kabul. 

The Uzbek government is looking at the idea but wants in return that any migration pact would facilitate the legal migration of skilled workers from Uzbekistan to Germany.

The Green Party, which is part of Scholz’s governing coalition, has resisted stricter immigration laws and defended the right to political asylum that’s enshrined in the German constitution. 

The immigration of skilled workers will be crucial to the future of Europe’s largest economy, Scholz acknowledged late Thursday after more than seven hours of talks at the chancellery in Berlin. “On the other hand, we need to manage irregular migration successfully.”

--With assistance from Michael Nienaber, Iain Rogers and Robert Jameson.

(Rewrites from first paragraph.)

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.