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Sending asylum seekers to third countries

Published on 2024-05-16 14.52

More than half of EU member states want new asylum legislation to be tightened further – and are calling for it to be easier to send migrants and refugees to a country outside the EU while they seek asylum.

Fifteen of the 27 EU countries signed a letter sent to the European Commission demanding “new measures and solutions to prevent illegal migration to Europe.”

They want to see more measures so they can detect, prevent and rescue migrants at sea if necessary – “and bring them to a pre-determined and safe place in a non-EU partner country, where sustainable solutions for these migrants can be found”. “.

Denmark is in the lead

A tougher common immigration policy has just been introduced after EU countries had struggled to agree for almost a decade. The European Commission's Asylum and Migration Agreement got the final green light from member states' finance ministers on Tuesday. Hungary and Poland tried to oppose this, while Austria and Slovakia expressed some objections.

Many countries have already pushed for further tightening, and above all, Denmark and the Czech Republic have demanded greater opportunities to place asylum seekers outside the EU. Denmark has explored the possibilities of sending asylum seekers to Africa, for example to Rwanda. Italy, which has received the largest number of migrants for many years, is trying to reach an agreement with Albania.

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The Italian plan means that migrants rescued and recovered in the Mediterranean, for example, are transferred to camp facilities in Albania where they are allowed to sit until the asylum process is completed.

Italy is a model

In the letter to the EU Commission, the Italian model was highlighted as a precedent. It also proposes relaxing the asylum legislation's definition of what would be considered an appropriate third country on the basis of security and a person's relationship there.

Regarding the approval, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said on Tuesday that a total of 19 EU countries were behind enabling such agreements, but only 15 countries signed the letter addressed to the Commission.

These are Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic and Austria.

Corrected: In a previous version of the text, there was an incorrect statement about which countries have objections to the EU Commission's Asylum and Migration Pact.