The deal, reached by MEPs and representatives of the 27 between Tuesday and Wednesday night, marks the first step towards toughening Europe’s reception policy, which has faced years of migration problems. In the first eleven months of the year alone, almost 355,000 crossings were registered by Frontex. According to the European Asylum Agency, asylum applications could reach one million files throughout 2023.
In this context, the 27 have agreed on the broad outlines of a policy whose texts should be written more precisely and verified by the European Council and the European Parliament.
In fact, the country where migrants enter the EU is responsible for their file. But the Mediterranean countries, which are the first to enter Europe, would be forced to put in place a system of solidarity if migrant pressures hit. Other member states must accept asylum seekers or provide financial compensation to host countries.
The reform also provides a system for filtering migrants, aiming to quickly return those who have almost zero chance of receiving asylum. That means everyone who has not left their country for reasons of persecution or war.
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Finally, one last sticking point about the reception of families with minors under 12. The agreement provides that they can be held in closed centers around European borders. Or, for Belgium, near Brussels Airport.
Following the deal, Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration Nicole D Moore welcomed it. “There needs to be better control over who can move to the European Union and who can’tshe says. It makes sense that all European countries should finally make reasonable efforts to welcome asylum seekers.
According to his office, the Belgian asylum system is under pressure. “Our asylum procedures and our reception centers welcome many people who have nothing to do there. Less than half of asylum seekers in our country need protection. This means that applicants do not come from a conflict zone, but want to migrate for economic reasons. This is not what the asylum procedure is for. If you want to work or study in Belgium, other Procedures must be followed.
According to Nicole de Moor, the distribution key for asylum indicates that Belgium should receive 3.2% of migrants. or 11,400 applicants for the January-November period. However, it received three times as many receptions (31,500) during that period.
However, the Secretary of State’s office notes that Belgium does not place minors under the age of 12 in closed centers, even though the treaty requires it to be recognized. “Families with minors under the age of 12 will be placed in reception facilities where medical care is guaranteed and schooling for school-age children is guaranteed,” we said.
For their part, human rights organizations believe that the agreement “Does not provide concrete support to countries that are the first to enter the EU”contains a “Regression” Asylum policy. “This deal will increase suffering at every stage of the journey for people seeking asylum in the EU.”Eve Geddy, Director of Amnesty International’s Office for European Institutions, assesses. “It is designed to further hinder the safety of these people. The deal will certainly lead to an increase in the number of people, including families with children, de facto detained at EU borders.
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