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Migration Pact puts deportation front and centre in authoritarian drift

The European Commission’s new Migration Pact renounces the EU’s international obligation to uphold the rights of people in need.

Since 2013, thousands of people have died or endured violence, misery and tragedy in inhumane conditions due to the EU’s failed migration policy.

Yet, Margaritis Schinas and Ylva Johansson’s blueprint will put pre-entry border procedures and ‘joint returns’ at the heart of the EU’s strategy. By giving in to the demands of Viktor Orbán, it will mean asylum-seekers who would – under normal EU procedures – have their applications recognised would now be faced with impossible bureaucratic procedures. This will result in the majority of them being unfairly denied protection and be returned to the country they had fled from.

Rather than welcoming those in need and relocating them across member states, the concept of EU ‘solidarity’ will be exploited and turned on its head, with a collective effort to deport and keep people out – with member states ‘sponsoring’ one another in the deportation process.

Today’s proposal effectively renders the EU’s obligation to help those seeking asylum meaningless, and pushes the EU further down the destructive path of deterrence and derogation of duty. At the same time, it ignores the fact that the majority of the returns would violate the people’s fundamental rights, or that it is simply unworkable. This new ‘system’ the EU Commission wants to put in place is therefore both inhumane and inefficient.

Commenting on the announcement, GUE/NGL’s Cornelia Ernst (Die Linke, Germany) says:

“This proposal runs contrary to the letter and spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Convention and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. By putting joint returns at the core of the new policy, the Commission has turned the whole idea of solidarity on its head.”

“When asylum seekers are rejected and cannot be returned to their home countries, it’s usually because these places are not safe. We don’t want increased ‘efficiency’ in returns because that means deporting people.”

“For the EU’s asylum policy to be more efficient, we need to make it more humane and more welcoming. We need safe and legal passages to asylum in the EU. We need fair and orderly procedures for the relocation of asylum seekers within the EU from the first day of their arrival,” she concluded.

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