15 states’ request for centers for migrants outside the EU heralds even more restrictive immigration policy International

The findings on migration and asylum in the EU point to an immediate future with even more restrictive policies. The Migration and Asylum Pact has been formally approved this week – a regulation highly criticized by NGOs working in the area – and already member states are being asked to explore other ways forward. Are. This Wednesday, 15 member states sent a letter to the European Commission asking it to “explore” the creation of centers to send asylum seekers rescued at sea. There are some absences in the letter given by EL PAÍS. It has not been signed by Hungary, the country most unfavorable to the arrival of people from outside the territory of the Union. And it was sent just hours before a government agreement was reached with an ultra-party-dominated government with a tough agenda in asylum policy in the Netherlands, a state very influential in Community policy. The text, as acknowledged by some signatory capitals, seeks to influence the program of the next European Commission, which will be established after the European elections.

All surveys predict a significant increase of the extreme right in that electoral event. Some place the two most radical and anti-immigration political families in third and fourth place among MEPs: Identity and Democracy (ID) – composed of the French National Regroupement led by Marine Le Pen, Matteo Salvini’s Italian Lega or Alternative. Is. Germany—and the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR)—which includes groups like Vox or Brothers of Italy, led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

The European People’s Party (EPP) At least one of these formations, the ECR, does not rule out coming up with a pro-Ukraine position, which is one of the lines most separating these groups. German Ursula von der Leyen, the conservative candidate to lead the Commission after the election, acknowledged this in the first debate of the campaign. And in the manifesto approved for appointment with the elections by the EPP – according to all surveys, the formation that will receive the most votes and the most representatives in the future parliament – ​​signs “agreements with third countries” to guarantee the applicants. Asylum seekers can also seek protection in a civilized and safe manner. “We want to implement the concept of safe third countries. “Anyone who requests asylum in the EU may be transferred to a safe third country and undergo the asylum procedure there,” the declaration said.

From the current Community Executive, they limit themselves to saying that “it is time to implement the migration treaty” in relation to the letter received on Wednesday and the 2,000 million additional euros in the Union budget reviewed a few months ago. , The Commission also notes that it is preparing a response, although it does not clarify the deadline for its publication. Community sources say that Spain and Germany, the countries that have not signed the letter, are on the same line. “It is time to implement the migration pact,” he concluded. In an interview on TVE this Friday, Spain’s Foreign Minister, José Manuel Alberes, declared that the transfer of migrants to third countries “does not guarantee the security of borders nor respect for human rights.”

‘Migration Diplomacy’

But the 15 signatories – Denmark, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Romania and Finland – demand that the EU not stop at that. The treaty formally approved this week deals, first of all, with what to do with migrants and asylum seekers once they arrive in the EU. On the other hand, the proposal of these 15 countries is to find ways to stop the arrival of these people on European soil. And they propose to do so by signing agreements such as those in Tunisia, Egypt or Mauritania. According to what he said in Brussels, this objective is not easy, because accepting third countries will have to be found. At Community Capital, they are studying expanding migration diplomacy, What would be the point of reaching an agreement with West African countries with which nothing has yet been signed to prevent the departure of migrants to their territory.

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These 15 countries, which are part of an informal working group on these issues with four other states that have not joined the letter, also propose that the so-called “Albania Model” be studied, signed with Italy. There is an agreement. Reception centers have been set up in the Southeastern European country where Italian staff process requests in accordance with EU law.

“I view this with great concern. “It is time to develop a migration pact that requires us to approach the EU’s most divisive and thorny issue,” criticized Spanish socialist Juan Fernando López Aguilar, one of the MEPs who negotiated the deal in December. I had to pay such a heavy price.” It has been confirmed these days. “The agreement was meant to bring order and that letter conspires to create chaos,” he adds, believing that its purpose is to start a debate before the European elections and influence the next Commission’s action.

Gemma Piñol-Jimenez, expert at the consulting firm Strategies and Migration Policies, assures:

“These ‘imaginative’ proposals, They seem to be a euphemism for talking about the process of externalization of asylum by EU countries. That is, asking third countries – we will never know for sure what in return – to take charge of the care/management of people who want to reach European territory to request international protection,” the consulting firm said. says Gemma Pinyol-Jiménez. Strategies. “For me, this is a violation of the right to asylum, because they make it difficult and do not guarantee access to it. The British model of Rwandan law is along similar lines. And the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has already said that this is a violation of the right to asylum,” attacks this expert on migration policies.

“It is very problematic. “We are very concerned about this new attempt at outsourcing, it goes against the realities of international migration and the right to asylum,” explains Silvia Carta, spokesperson for Picum, a support platform for undocumented immigrants that is supporting the proposal. The copy has been very critical. For them, the initiative to build care centers outside the EU merely aims to “avoid the obligations of the migration agreement”.

Nor does Luigi Scazzieri of the Center for European Reform Analysis Institute defend this proposal, who, however, is skeptical about the effectiveness of the European migration pact, as it seems to him somewhat symbolic and with rules that will not work. . “The central idea is that there should be speedy processing of applications. The problem is that, even if applications were processed more quickly and a very efficient system was set up (unlikely), there would still be hundreds of thousands of people whose applications failed and who had to be turned away. Needed But repatriation is very difficult and the rate has been low in recent years,” he explains. Therefore, he concluded that “these countries feel that the agreement is overvalued.”

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