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US News Mediterranean countries criticize EU proposals for asylum reform

22:15  25 november  2020
22:15  25 november  2020 Source:   dw.com

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The European Commission proposes alternatives for a "more humane and efficient" way of handling asylum claims in response to the migrant crisis. image captionUnder the current system, EU countries have the power to return asylum seekers to the first EU state they entered.

Asylum in the European Union ( EU ) has its roots in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, an agreement founded on Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Following the adoption of the Schengen Agreement on the elimination of internal border controls of signatory

So far, Hungary and Poland have been at odds. Italy, Spain, Greece and Malta are now protesting about the new plans of the EU Commission and the Council to control migration. An East-South conflict threatens.

Flüchtlinge aus dem Kongo auf einem spanischen Patrouillenboot © imago / Independent Photo Agency / M. Amoruso Refugees from the Congo on a Spanish patrol boat

The southern EU countries Italy, Spain, Greece and Malta consider the proposals from Brussels for asylum reform to be inadequate. In a joint letter to top EU representatives and Chancellor Angela Merkel, they denounced an "imbalance between solidarity and responsibility" in the Commission's migration pact. It is unacceptable that the countries where most migrants first set foot on European soil should bear the entire burden. The aim must be a European mechanism for the permanent distribution of migrants to all EU member states, it said.

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Common European Asylum Systemshow submenu for "Common European Asylum System". Country responsible for asylum application (Dublin). The Asylum Procedures Directive sets common procedures for EU Member States for granting and withdrawing international protection.

Merkel and von der Leyen as addressees

The letter was written by the heads of government Giuseppe Conte (Italy), Pedro Sanchéz (Spain), Kyriakos Mitsotakis (Greece) and Robert Abela (Malta). In addition to Merkel as the representative of the German EU Council Presidency, Commission head Ursula von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel were also the addressees of the letter.

Hotel auf Gran Canaria, in dem vorübergehend Migranten untergebracht werden © Jan-Philipp Scholz / DW Hotel in Gran Canaria that temporarily accommodates migrants

Since the height of the refugee crisis in 2015, several attempts to reform Europe's asylum system have failed. The sticking point has always been the distribution of refugees to the other EU countries in order to relieve the burden on arrival countries such as Italy or Greece at the external borders. Eastern European countries categorically refused to accept migrants.

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The European Commission will make the controversial proposal that EU member countries should media captionWhat a Mediterranean rescue looks like. However, other EU countries are fiercely A UK government spokesman said: "The UK has a proud history of offering asylum to those who need it

Common European Asylum Systemshow submenu for "Common European Asylum System". In the EU , an area of open borders and freedom of movement, countries share the same fundamental values and States need to have a joint approach to guarantee high standards of protection for refugees.


Video: "The EU must set priorities" - debate on new migration pact (Euronews)

Hungary and Poland stay tough

The EU Commission submitted new proposals to in September . They provide for accelerated asylum procedures at the external borders and faster deportations of rejected asylum seekers. At the same time, Brussels for the first time refrains from obliging reluctant countries such as Hungary and Poland - except in major exceptional situations - to accept migrants and refugees. Nevertheless, the governments in Budapest and Warsaw also reject these plans.

2000 Flüchtlinge warteten in diesem Monat im Hafen von Arguineguin auf Gran Canaria auf die Maßnahmen der Behörden © Borja Suarez / REUTERS 2000 refugees waited this month in the port of Arguineguin on Gran Canaria for the measures of the authorities

The heads of government of the southern countries criticized the solidarity mechanism for their part as complex and vague. From their point of view, the principle of a compulsory distribution to other EU states must be the "main tool of solidarity" between the member states. "The frontline countries cannot withstand the migratory pressure for the entire European Union," it said.

Meeting of Conte and Sanchéz

The topic of migration is also the focus of the first Spanish-Italian summit since 2014. After a first meeting with his Spanish counterpart Pedro Sánchez, the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in Palma de Mallorca that one must, among other things, the European ones Mechanisms for returning migrants "improve, and do so a lot". There is still a lot to be done.

With the resistance from southern Europe, the chances of an agreement on essential points of the reform, which Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is striving for, are likely to have decreased further this year. The EU interior ministers will discuss the issue again in mid-December.

sti / qu (afp, dpa)

TRIBUNE. How to put "frugal states" back into the engine of Europe .
© Copyright 2020, L'Obs The dynamics of power relations within the EU have changed in recent years. We have long talked about the strength of the Franco-German engine, of “Club Med”, and - in the context of the EU budget - of the two leading countries of the Visegrad group, Hungary and Poland… But 2020 has seen the birth of a new alliance comprising some of the most prosperous member states in Europe.

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