June 1, 2011 (Deutsche Welle) -
June 1, 2011 (Deutsche Welle) –
Asylum seekers arriving in the European Union don’t face the same procedures in every country. That needs to change, said the European Union home affairs commissioner.
The EU home affairs commissioner has unveiled renewed proposals for a common asylum system for the bloc, saying migrants should face the same procedures no matter where they land.
“The EU must stand up for its values and provide protection for those coming here to seek refuge from persecution and conflict,” Cecilia Malmstrom said in a statement Wednesday, adding that the EU must respect its commitment to establish a common asylum system by 2012.
The recent influx of migrants from North Africa has called attention to the discrepancies between asylum policies in EU member states. Tens of thousands of illegal migrants have arrived on the shores of Italy since the beginning of the year, fleeing unrest in North Africa.
Many are economic migrants who will be deported, but others, especially many refugees from Libya, may qualify for asylum.
Malmstrom’s proposal seeks to impose a six-month limit on asylum procedures and spell out rules for detention.
“Today the level of treatment and guarantees for asylum seekers varies widely across the EU and the chances of obtaining protection are radically different depending on which member state examines the asylum request,” the home affairs commissioner said.
The effort to revise the bloc’s regulations goes back to 2008. The changes proposed Wednesday are the result of collaboration among EU powerbrokers and non-government groups, and are due be discussed by interior ministers on June 9.