EU countries agree on part of asylum reform

Hungary, police, border, fence, Serbia, refugees, refugee policy

After years of wrangling, representatives of EU countries have agreed to stricter asylum rules at the EU borders. Pro Asyl’s plans were met with harsh criticism. The human rights organization fears a prison sentence of up to two years.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022, 9:00 pm|Last update: Wednesday, 06/22/2020 06:36 PM Reading time: 3 minutes |

In the fight for a common European asylum policy, EU countries have agreed to stricter rules at European external borders and reform the database for fingerprinting and biometric data registration. The permanent representatives of the 27 countries in Brussels made the corresponding decisions on Wednesday. Germany and 20 other European countries also reached an agreement on a mechanism to support Mediterranean countries in dealing with asylum seekers, even if not all of them wish to take in refugees. Parts of the project have come under fire for asylum.

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EU member states have been arguing over a common asylum and immigration policy for years. The issue of the distribution of those seeking protection within the European Union is particularly controversial. Countries such as Hungary, Poland and Austria reject the fixed-distribution mechanism. According to the previously established Dublin Regulation, the country in which the applicant first entered is responsible for the asylum application. This regulation means that southern countries such as Italy, Malta, Spain and Greece, where many people arrive, are especially burdened.

Voluntary Solidarity Mechanism

The solidarity mechanism now identified is also voluntary. States are free to help Mediterranean countries by accepting those who seek protection or by providing them with financial or material benefits, for example. At a meeting of EU interior ministers about two weeks ago, Federal Interior Minister Nancy Visser (SPD) estimated that Germany and about 11 other countries would take in refugees. The rest want to support the Mediterranean countries in other ways.

Against this background, the agreement has been hailed as the first concrete step forward in EU asylum policy for a long time. But there are sharp criticisms. In screening procedures, for example, all those seeking protection must be detained for up to ten days after their arrest at the border of a European Member State and considered “not entered” for this period. During this time, identity verification and safety and health checks must be carried out.

Pro Asel criticizes asylum border procedures

On the basis of the information obtained, a decision must be made on the procedure to be followed: the normal asylum procedure or the asylum border procedure. The latter should become mandatory in some cases, for example if the recognition rate in the country of origin is less than 20 per cent. Member states are also free to apply the procedure to other asylum seekers.

Human rights organization Pro Asyl criticizes that the asylum procedure at the border could “take up to 12 weeks, and in the event of a refusal decision, it will be followed by a new procedure of deportation at the border, which may also last for 12 weeks”. During this entire period, detainees are considered to have “not entered the country”.

Imprisonment for up to two years

This illusion of “no entry” can only be carried out in prison, as Pro Asyl criticizes: “The persons concerned will then be held in large camps at the external borders of the European Union and isolated for more than 24 weeks. The necessary legal and social support cannot be guaranteed in this way. As if this Not enough, prolonged detention pending deportation for up to 18 months could be directly added.In extreme cases, he threatened two years in prison.

In addition, during the “crisis” EU member states can significantly expand asylum border procedures so that they apply to all those seeking protection. During a pandemic, for example, EU member states can deviate from standards. (epd/mig)

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