Asylum package: MEPs call for a pilot project for faster asylum procedures

In view of the EU Commission’s proposal for faster asylum procedures at the European external borders, MPs from the CDU and the European People’s Party (EPP) have called for a pilot project in Italy. As the newspaper “Die Welt” reported, they wrote a letter to the Vice-President of the Commission responsible for EU asylum reform, Margaritis Schinas.

Pilot project could examine feasibility

The MPs appealed to the EU Commission “to test the proposals from the new migration and asylum package in the field of external border procedures, in particular the proposed rapid procedure, in practice.

Fast procedures at the external borders and the “direct return in the event of a negative asylum decision” are the “correct starting point” for the future EU asylum system, it said.

A pilot project in Italy, for example, could dispel doubts about the feasibility of the fast-track procedure in the new migration and asylum package, argued the MPs according to “Welt”. In Italy, this particularly affects people from Tunisia, the letter said. According to the information, around 40 percent of asylum seekers came from the country in 2020, and their recognition rate is less than four percent.

The EU Commission’s proposal for a reform of the Common European Asylum System provides that applications from asylum seekers who come from countries of origin with a recognition rate of less than 20 percent are examined within twelve weeks. In the event of a rejection, a repatriation is planned within a further twelve weeks.

These are the cornerstones of the EU asylum package

In general, the EU asylum package provides that a more effective refugee policy should deter illegal immigrants. The asylum procedure is to be improved at the EU borders and deportations are to be significantly accelerated. Countries like Greece, Spain and Italy are supposed to be relieved.

A health and safety check and the taking of fingerprints as well as the registration in a Europe-wide database should therefore take place on site. The process is to be accelerated and asylum seekers to stay for years are avoided.

To this end, the EU border agency Frontex is being strengthened and there is to be an “EU coordinator for returns”. If people come from countries with a very low chance of recognition, such as Morocco or Tunisia, a decision should in future be made within three months.

But: With the new asylum package, not all countries are obliged to accept a certain number of asylum seekers. The Dublin procedure, which included this among other things, is now obsolete.

The EU Commission only wants to oblige countries to accept refugees in exceptional cases. Countries such as Hungary or Poland, which have not yet participated in the Dublin procedure anyway, can now take on deportation sponsorships in order to return asylum seekers to their home or transit countries. According to the Commission, there should be a system of flexible contributions from the Member States.

Seehofer is optimistic

Federal Interior Minister Seehofer was positive about the pilot project: “All in all, one can say that, from the perspective of the German Council Presidency, the proposal offers a good basis for discussions with the Commission and with the Member States.” The chance that a “political understanding” will be reached on this basis is very high, said Seehofer.

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