Meeting of interior ministers – EU countries agree to tighten asylum procedures – News

  • The asylum procedures in the EU are to be significantly tightened in view of the problems with illegal migration.
  • At a meeting of interior ministers in Luxembourg, a sufficiently large majority of member states voted in favor of comprehensive reform plans.
  • In particular, these provide for a much more rigid approach to migrants with no prospects of staying.

In the future, people arriving from countries that are considered safe should come to strictly controlled reception facilities under conditions similar to detention after crossing the border. There, it would normally be checked within twelve weeks whether the applicant has a chance of asylum. If not, it should be sent back immediately.

In the negotiations, the German government had emphatically advocated that families with children be exempted from the so-called border procedures. In order to make the breakthrough possible, however, she ultimately had to accept that this could be possible. However, the German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said at the meeting that the federal government will continue to work to ensure that all children’s rights are guaranteed.

Baume-Schneider: “Historical” agreement

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After the meeting of the EU interior ministers in Luxembourg, Federal Councilor Elisabeth Baume-Schneider described the agreement of the EU states on the migration and asylum pact as a “historic step”. An agreement was urgently needed, she said. According to Baume-Schneider, the Dublin system would not have withstood the current situation much longer.

Switzerland is partially involved in EU migration and asylum policy via the Dublin Agreement. The Dublin system stipulates that the state where asylum seekers first arrive must take care of them. For the Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Italy, Spain, Malta and Cyprus, this became a major burden in view of the high number of refugees and migrants.

Thanks to the compromise, the Dublin system has now been strengthened, the Federal Councilor told the media. Switzerland will also participate accordingly. Baume-Schneider said that she had also participated in the solidarity mechanism in the past, which was not mandatory for her.

More solidarity with heavily burdened states

It is also conceivable that the EU Parliament will push through changes. It has a say in the reform and will negotiate the project with representatives of the EU states in the coming months.

In addition to the tightened asylum procedures, the approved plans also provide for more solidarity with the heavily burdened member states at the EU’s external borders. In the future, it should no longer be voluntary, but mandatory. Countries that do not want to take in refugees would be forced to pay compensation. Countries like Hungary therefore voted against the plan.

So far 50,000 migrants registered in Italy

Countries like Italy, for example, could benefit from the obligation to show solidarity. According to the UN refugee agency, more than 50,000 migrants who came across the Mediterranean were registered in Italy this year. Most of them came from Tunisia, Egypt and Bangladesh and therefore had almost no prospects of being able to stay legally.

The outstanding negotiations with the EU Parliament should ideally be concluded before the end of the year. Then the laws could be passed before the European elections in June 2024. If this does not succeed, the changed political balance of power could make renegotiations necessary.

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