Saturday

18th Nov 2017

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.

EU takes step toward joint army

The vast majority of EU states have agreed to create the nucleus of a joint army in reaction to Brexit, Trump, and Russia.

MEPs ponder how to fight tax havens

After the Paradise Papers brought new revelations about tax dodging across the globe, including in the EU, the European Parliament wonders how to step up the fight.

News in Brief

  1. Bonn climate talks extend into Friday evening
  2. UK needs to move on Brexit by early December, Tusk says
  3. Puigdemont extradition decision postponed to December
  4. Ireland wants written UK guarantees to avoid hard border
  5. US did not obstruct climate talks, says German minister
  6. EU signs social declaration
  7. Puigdemont to be heard by Belgian judges
  8. Steep fall in migrants reaching EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  2. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic countries prioritise fossil fuel subsidy reform
  4. Mission of China to the EUNew era for China brings new opportunities to all
  5. ACCASmall and Medium Sized Practices Must 'Offer the Whole Package'
  6. UNICEFAhead of the African Union - EU Summit, Survey Highlights Impact of Conflict on Education
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council Calls for Closer Co-Operation on Foreign Policy
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTrilogue Negotiations - Striking the Balance Between Transparency and Efficiency
  9. Access EuropeProspects for US-EU Relations Under the Trump Administration - 28 November 2017
  10. World Vision20 November: Exchange of Views at the EP on Children Affected by the Syria Crisis
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable Growth the Nordic Way: Climate Solutions for a Sustainable Future
  12. EU2017EEHow Data Fuels Estonia's Economy

Latest News

  1. EU keeps former Soviet states at arm's length
  2. EU leaders make pledge on social issues after populist backlash
  3. EU agencies and eastern neighbours This WEEK
  4. Germany slams Dutch call for more ambitious EU climate goal
  5. Mind the gap: inequality in our cities
  6. Climate activists 'disappointed' with EU at climate talks
  7. Davis outlines UK vision on Brexit in Berlin
  8. German coalition talks in near collapse