Friday

27th Apr 2018

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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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.

Interview

Don't play EU 'games' with military HQs

The EU should not share out military HQs for political reasons if it wants effective armed forces, Italy's former defence chief tells EUobserver.

Feature

Spain makes bid for EU naval HQ

Spanish special forces seized a boat from African 'pirates' as diplomats watched on Monday, in a drill marking Spain's bid to grab a top EU military mission from the UK.

EU toes the line on Syria air strikes

EU foreign ministers to back Western air strikes on Syria, the same way they backed the UK over Russia's chemical attack on an ex-spy in Britain.

Analysis

Is Germany more hawkish on Russia?

Germany's socialist foreign minister just said the EU should "step up pressure" on Russia. Merkel aired "political" doubts on a Russian pipeline.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  2. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May
  3. EU Green Week 2018Green Cities for a Greener Future. Join the Debate in Brussels from 22 to 24 May
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  5. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  6. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  7. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  9. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  10. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  11. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  12. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off

Latest News

  1. EU tells platforms to sort fake news by October or face new law
  2. Civil society chief: social media can't replace engagement
  3. The reality behind the €7 'Brexit bombshell visa'
  4. Commission wants bigger post-Brexit budget
  5. Whistleblowers could be enforcers of rule of law in Europe
  6. EU shelves Macron idea for 'European Darpa'
  7. Don't play EU 'games' with military HQs
  8. EU had a plan for Jordan - now it's time to make it work