Commission proposal on refugee resettlement is designed only to control migration
European Parliament Rapporteur and GUE/NGL MEP, Malin Björk, condemns the Commission´s proposed annual plan for the resettlement of refugees as a tool to control migration rather than to support refugees.
The Swedish MEP explains the problem with the proposal that was released yesterday: "Resettlement is a well-established programme organised by the UNHCR for people who have had to flee their homes to start a new life in a safe place. The European Commission had promised to put forth a proposal to increase participation by the EU and its member states in resettlement. Today, however, the Commission has presented a proposal that distorts the concept of the UN resettlement programme. Instead, it is geared towards serving the purpose of 'migration control'."
The Swedish MEP criticised the conditional nature of the proposal, which insists that if a third country wants refugees who have arrived there to be resettled in Europe, then that country must cooperate with the EU in border control.
"This proposal is a continuation of the disgraceful EU-Turkey deal in which refugees are shipped around and the EU hires third countries to act as gatekeepers. In the Commission´s view, resettlement is no longer about giving shelter," Björk continues.
"It is about border and migration control. As such, this proposal disregards the right to asylum and brings us even further away from our international duty to help refugees.
"Under the Commission's proposal, refugees who are joining family members who are already in Europe, would also be counted as 'resettled refugees', effectively eliminating family reunification as a separate legal migration route into the EU and lowering the overall number of refugees being resettled in Europe."
Björk also criticised the lack of transparency and accountability: "The annual resettlement plan will be adopted as a Council-implementing act, and then the Commission will adopt the targeted resettlement schemes as Commission-implemented acts."
"The proposal draws largely on the EU-Turkey deal in terms of procedural rules, even though the European Parliament has not had a say in the EU-Turkey deal that was agreed earlier this year, despite vociferous debate over it.
"NGOs and civil society have also been excluded, and the UNHCR has been side-lined.
"Many of the political groups of the Parliament have firmly rejected the deal as it is considered to be a breach of international law, particularly the right to seek asylum.
"The deal leaves the EU in the hands of the increasingly authoritarian Turkish leader, Erdoğan."
"The Commission is clearly living inside a bubble from which it produces evermore cynical policies that play into the hands of anti-refugee forces across Europe. I do not think the Commission will get the Parliament to join them on this plan. As the Parliament´s rapporteur on this issue, I will do what I can to stand up for international asylum law and global solidarity in receiving refugees," Björk concludes.
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