World New asylum and migration pact: the plan to get Europe out of the deadlock

05:25  23 september  2020
05:25  23 september  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

The promise and peril of the EU’s new asylum plan

  The promise and peril of the EU’s new asylum plan The problem isn’t that the EU is doing too much. It’s that it’s not doing enough.On Wednesday, the European Commission (the EU’s executive arm) released more than 500 pages filled with proposals to change its years-long asylum policy. The “New Pact for Migration and Asylum,” which is strongly backed by Germany, aims to convince EU member nations skeptical of letting in migrants, already overburdened with refugees, or angling for reform that a new compromise can be struck by the end of next year.

Le drapeau européen flotte à l'entrée du Parlement européen à Bruxelles © kenzo tribouillard / AFP The European flag flies at the entrance to the European Parliament in Brussels

Breaking the deadlock on migration: c t is the objective of the European Commission's new pact for asylum and migration, which is presented on 23 September in Brussels. Expected for months, postponed due to a pandemic, it comes as the destruction of the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, has put more than 12,000 people on the streets and caused a surge in Europe.

There will be "never again Moria" the Commission promised. And that’s the end of the Dublin Regulation , which left countries at the external borders to take care of asylum seekers on their own. The President of the Commission has announced its abolition and Ursula von der Leyen promises an ambitious text.

EU to unveil long-delayed asylum plan to share responsibility

  EU to unveil long-delayed asylum plan to share responsibility Five years after Europe's migrant crisis, Brussels will propose on Wednesday that member states share the responsibility for asylum seekers under a "compulsory solidarity mechanism". The New Pact on Migration and Asylum will be unveiled by European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson and Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas. Johansson wants the 27 member states to commit to sharing the burden of handling asylum claims from migrants arriving on the bloc's shores."It's obvious to everybody that ad hoc solidarity or voluntary solidarity is not enough. That has been proven for many years now," she said. "It has to be mandatory.

Will Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain finally be able to count on the solidarity of the 27? This is what Brussels promises, but this solidarity will not necessarily go through the reception of asylum seekers has already hinted at the Commission; it could be financial aid or aid for the return of the unsuccessful. What has the defect of delighting the countries of first reception, leaves the text a chance not to be blocked by Hungary and its neighbors whose hostility to the distribution of refugees has not diminished since the crisis caused by the arrival in 2015 of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers. As early as Tuesday evening, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz denounced the principle of obligation of solidarity.

What solutions for unaccompanied minors?

Greece warms to EU asylum pact but refugee groups rage

  Greece warms to EU asylum pact but refugee groups rage Greece's government has cautiously welcomed a plan from Brussels to reform the EU's shaky asylum system, but charity groups working with refugees on the ground have blasted a continued "outrageous containment policy". The "New Pact on Migration and Asylum" was unveiled on Wednesday and calls for a tougher stance on returning migrants who do not have the right to stay in the EU, and ratcheting up border controls. Such moves are music to the ears of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' conservative government, which has been operating a harsh migration policy since taking power over a year ago.

The new pact should certainly sanctify rescue at sea, but also plead for an accelerated processing of asylum requests and repatriations. Combining humanity, solidarity and the unanimity of Europeans, the bet is still far from being won.

Ursula von der Leyen still promises a major reform. The destruction of the Moria camp in a fire two weeks ago revealed the squalid conditions in which 12,000 people lived, including many children and unaccompanied minors. Unaccompanied minors now transferred to the continent for the most part, with the help of NGOs. But this is not enough denounces the NGO Metadrasi which works throughout the country with isolated minors and which launches a proposal in Brussels.

One year for the " big interview ..."

One of the dysfunctions of European policy vis-à-vis asylum seekers is the processing times for these requests, in the face of people in a situation emergency. In Lesbos, after the Moria fire, this Cameroonian recalls the slowness of the Greek administration in setting up an interview, which she calls "the big interview". “We who have come to seek asylum in a country, in our countries, already have problems that traumatize us. And then it takes us 9 months, out of a year, not to give us papers! When you go to the big interview, sometimes we `` postpone '' you, and sometimes, we say no, for you, no, today, you cannot do, because there is no not the interpreter. You come home, you sleep, you wake up, you sleep, you wake up… Time goes by. One year. »

Already a whole year spent in Lesbos for this woman. And from one procedure to the next, the time just keeps getting longer. "You can go over there, you do the big interview. But you have a rejection. We reject your request, your asylum request. While you're being rejected, you'll start to wait another five months. That's why there are people here who have done two years, a year and a half, a year. These are the conditions, we live like that. "

After the Moria camp fire, all interview dates relating to asylum applications were postponed. They are now scheduled to resume on the island from the end of September.

From our special correspondent, back from Lesbos, Joël Bronner

Lesbos camp filling up as UN warns on migrants' future .
The UN refugee agency on Friday warned Greece that a new camp on Lesbos island hastily built to house thousands of migrants left homeless by a fire last week can only be temporary. "This new site is currently functioning as an emergency shelter facility," UNHCR spokesperson Shabia Mantoo said in Geneva. "UNHCR supports its use as temporary solution but cautions that what may be deemed adequate in terms of shelter and services during emergency situations is not appropriate for the longer-term.

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