Wednesday

22nd May 2019

EU set for further talks on overseas asylum centres

  • Libyan coast: 400 people have so far died this year while attempting to cross the Mediterranean (Photo: nasa.org)

EU ministers of justice and foreign affairs are set to meet in July to discuss an Italian-led proposal to offshore asylum claims to centres in northern Africa.

The issue was discussed Monday (16 March) at a meeting of foreign affairs ministers in Brussels but no decisions were made.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

However, the EU’s policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters in Brussels that the proposal will be explored at another meeting.

“One thing that we have, I wouldn’t say decided but sort of, is to have a joint meeting - foreign ministers interior ministers - possibly in July with concrete options to be taken with decisions and this is one of the things that we will explore more,” she said.

Italy’s interior minister Angelino Alfano last week circulated a two-page paper on the idea to a handful of ministers and Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European commissioner for migration.

The proposal calls for setting up centres in transit countries to process asylum claims there.

Alfano wants the UN agency for refugees (UNHCR) to help run the facilities to ensure human rights standards are properly observed.

But the UNHCR indicated the idea has yet to be throughly discussed.

“No such agreement has been made between our organisation and the Italian authorities,” Vincent Cochetel, the UN agency’s chief in Brussels, told Avramopoulos in a letter seen by this website.

Instead, the UNHCR says asylum seekers should be processed in the territory of the state in which they arrive, or which otherwise has jurisdiction over them.

“At the same time, we recognise that in exceptional circumstances, cooperative multilateral processing arrangements could take place subject to appropriate safeguards,” a spokesperson from the Swiss-based UN organisation told this website.

They say any such arrangement would have to adhere to international law and prior commitments by member states to offer solutions to persons in need of international protection.

Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, has made three different proposals.

He wants a European search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean that equals the now-stopped Italian-run Mare Nostrum, which saved around 120,000 people.

Guterres also proposed setting up an EU scheme to compensate shipping companies for losses incurred while rescuing people in distress at sea.

The UN commissioner says a better balance of resettlement of asylum seekers among member states is needed.

Germany and Sweden received around 56 percent of all Syrian asylum applications since the start of the conflict.

Analysis

EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

EU urges US not to start war with Iran

Europe's top diplomats have said US actions risked triggering a conflict with Iran, as America makes plans to pour troops into Middle East in echoes of Iraq war.

EU-Sahel talks next week amid 'unprecedented attacks'

Officials from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger are meeting EU foreign, defence, and development ministers next week in Brussels. The visit comes amid "unprecedented levels" of armed attacks, says the UN.

News in Brief

  1. Poll: Denmark set to double number of liberal MEPs
  2. European brands 'breaking' chemical safety rules
  3. Report: Merkel was lobbied to accept EU top job
  4. May struggling to get Brexit deal passed at fourth vote
  5. German MPs show interest in 'Magnitsky' sanctions
  6. CoE: Rights violations in Hungary 'must be addressed'
  7. EU affairs ministers rubber-stamp new ban on plastics
  8. Private companies campaign to boost turnout in EU poll

Analysis

EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us