The EU’s “New Pact on Migration and Asylum” would turn Europe’s borders into efficient deportation factories.
Rabat – The EU’s controversial “New Pact on Migration and Asylum” speeds up deportations, keeps refugees detained, and aims to reduce asylum claims. The new plan appears to prioritize the “inconvenience” of hosting refugees while making life more difficult and dangerous for migrants.
The European Commission unveiled its radical proposal on Wednesday. Member states will review the asylum pact, and the EU Parliament urges them to adopt the plan by the end of 2020. European interior ministers are set to discuss the proposed reforms on October 8, according to German Minister of Interior Horst Seehofer as quoted by the AP.
The plan promises to “fast-track” the screening of migrants. Refugees and economic migrants would face detention in centers that would legally be considered to be outside of Europe. This would make it easier for the EU to rapidly deport applicants who never technically crossed EU borders.
The new plan promises to process claims of refugees and migrants within five days. In this short period the EU aims to assess the veracity of the application while the claimant is under detention. If the EU determines the claims to be false, authorities would take migrants from detention and deport them within three months. If they are lucky, the EU could process their asylum claim.
If states determined a migrant was possibly eligible for asylum, they would undergo detention for another 12 weeks while their asylum request received further scrutiny. During the entire process migrants would be in legal limbo, not being technically in the EU and robbed of their freedom of movement in order to facilitate rapid deportation.
The New Pact on Migration and Asylum aims to actively discourage refugees from starting their journey towards Europe. EU Migration Commissioner Ylva Johansson told the AP the plan aims to make refugees “think twice before paying a lot of money to the smugglers and before risking their lives going into these very dangerous boats.”
The plan actively frames refugees and migrants as accomplices to human traffickers. The AP asked Johansson whether the plan would increase efforts to save drowning migrants in the Mediterranean. “Not according to our proposal. It will be the opposite, I guess,” she responded.
Driven by xenophobia
The plan aims to appease the growing bloc of hard-right anti-immigration zealots within the EU. Countries like Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia continue to push the EU with their xenophobic stance that is increasingly popular with mainstream voters. These countries are becoming “the bouncers of Europe,” according to Hanne Beirens, Director of Migration Policy Institute Europe.
While the New Pact on Migration and Asylum would make life much harder on asylum applicants, it fails to demand much from the EU’s anti-immigration countries. The plan still requires voluntary acceptance of refugees who Europe determines merit asylum. Even when authorities determine refugees to be “legitimately” at risk in their home countries, no mechanism exists to dictate where in Europe they would go.
The controversial plan aims to continue to export Europe’s immigration to countries on the periphery, such as Morocco. As the EU aims to turn its borders into legally-neutral deportation machines, it plans to force African and Middle Eastern countries to take in returning refugees. If these countries do not comply, the EU would make it more difficult for citizens of those countries to apply for regular European visas.