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Responding to the news that EU leaders have agreed a position on how to deal with sudden increases in arrivals at Europe’s borders, as well as cases of so-called ‘instrumentalisation’ of migrants, that would allow EU members states to deviate from the bloc’s usual asylum and reception standards, Eve Geddie, Director of Amnesty International’s EU office said:
“People who arrive at the EU’s borders must be able to seek asylum, have their claim examined fairly, and be received with dignity. This agreement risks leaving people stranded, detained or destitute along Europe’s borders and will do nothing to improve the protection of asylum seekers in the EU. Denying people seeking asylum their rights is dangerous, and a disproportionate response to situations which countries could perfectly well deal with under existing rules.
Today’s agreement also represents a further step in negotiations on a broader package of EU asylum reforms. It is vital that the rush to reach an agreement does not lead to human rights being side-lined in the process. We fully expect all EU institutions to insist that these rights are guaranteed as negotiations advance in the coming monthsEve Geddie, Director of Amnesty International’s EU office
“Today’s agreement also represents a further step in negotiations on a broader package of EU asylum reforms. It is vital that the rush to reach an agreement does not lead to human rights being side-lined in the process. We fully expect all EU institutions to insist that these rights are guaranteed as negotiations advance in the coming months.”
Today’s agreement would allow EU member states to delay registration of asylum seekers, channel far greater numbers of people through second-rate border asylum procedures, and expand detention at the border. Amnesty International has documented the significant human rights abuses that result from these policies – including the use of arbitrary detention and denial of access to asylum in Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania since 2021.
If adopted, the proposed Crisis Regulation would further normalise the use of emergency provisions in Europe to deal with arrivals. It would weaken the coherence of the common European asylum system, while failing to prevent ‘crisis’ situations from arising in the future.
Amnesty International calls on all EU institutions to refrain from additional exceptional measures in EU law that undermine fundamental rights. The notion of ‘instrumentalisation’ of migrants, namely, actions by third countries or non-state actors to facilitate arrivals into the EU, must be firmly rejected and cannot serve to justify further derogations.
Following discussions at last week’s Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council meeting, member state representatives reached an agreement today on a Crisis and Force Majeure Regulation. This will enable negotiations to begin with the European Parliament on this proposal. Institutions hope to reach an agreement on this and other files of the Pact on Migration and Asylum by the end of the year, or early in 2024.
Amnesty International has repeatedly warned that the proposed Crisis and Force Majeure Regulation, put forward by the European Commission in September 2020, as well as the Instrumentalisation Regulation, proposed in December 2021, and which has been incorporated into this proposal – pose severe concerns for human rights and the right to asylum in Europe, and called for their rejection.
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