Monday

25th Sep 2017

Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland face EU threat on asylum

  • This year up until August, Norway received over 8,000 asylum applications (Photo: Alexander Shchukin)

Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein will have to agree to relocate asylum seekers in the latest EU scheme or face possible penalties.

Refusal could see them booted out of the Dublin regulation, which requires the country in which asylum seekers first enter the EU to handle applications for asylum on behalf of everyone else.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  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.

The stiff condition is part of a larger legislative proposal on a permanent relocation system for asylum seekers announced on Wednesday (9 September) by the European Commission.

If they refuse, then “the agreement whereby they remain a part of Dublin is terminated but the joint/mixed committee can decide otherwise”, said one EU official.

A second EU official added that the legal situation remains unclear and will be discussed later.

But the proposal on paper is explicit and laid out in bold print.

It notes all four countries will have to accept Dublin “and its development without exception.” They will have no say or input in amending Dublin, nor will they have any say on the Commission’s relocation plan.

“They do not take part in the adoption of any acts amending or building upon the Dublin acquis”, it says.

Dublin is a cornerstone of EU asylum laws but has come under severe pressure as thousands of people seeking refuge continue to enter the EU on a daily basis.

Denmark’s railway company DSB suspended services to Germany on Wednesday after Danish police stopped a surge of hundreds of migrants.

Last month, Germany suspended the EU rule for Syrians in order to process their asylum applications more quickly.

Greece also saw over 213,000 people arrive on its shores this year, 145,000 have arrived in Hungary, and some 115,000 have arrived in Italy. Many are allowed to slip by standard registration and move further north to demand asylum in Germany or Sweden.

Returns of migrants to Greece was ruled out following a 2011 European Court of Human Rights ruling on “degrading” conditions in Greek migrant holding centres.

Meanwhile, in Strasbourg, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker told MEPs that the EU had also committed to resettling over 22,000 UN-recognised refugees from outside of Europe over the next year.

Norway also pledged to assist, accepting 3,500 out of the total, while Switzerland pledged 519 relocation spots. Others, such as Hungary, offered no help whatsoever.

Pay not to relocate

The Commission’s emergency plan to relocate 120,000 from Italy, Greece, and Hungary also includes a "temporary solidarity clause" that would allow member states to avoid taking in the asylum seekers for up to one year.

The clause can only be triggered by the European Commission, and only if the member state is struck by a natural disaster, such as floods.

But it would also require the member state to pay an amount equivalent of 0.002 percent of its GDP into the EU budget as a result.

EU vice-president Frans Timmermans told reporters in Strasbourg that “it is not a buy-me-out-of-this ticket”.

Norway turns back migrants without visas

Norway, a non-EU member of the passport-free Schengen area, plans to toughen immigration rules including turning back aslyum seekers from Sweden and other countries trying to enter without a visa.

Hungary boosts border control, holds army exercise

While the number of migrants arriving in Hungary increases by the day, the army holds an exercise to strengthen border control, and the country gets ready to implement controversial new legislation to keep migrants out.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel wins fourth term, exit polls say
  2. EU to hail 'aspirations' of former Soviet states
  3. UK says credit downgrade was wrong
  4. Dutch state appeals ban on taking air-polluting measures
  5. May proposes 2-year transition period after Brexit
  6. May to call on EU's 'sense of responsibility'
  7. Catalonia has 'contingency plans' for independence vote
  8. Last German polls confirm Merkel's lead

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EEEU Finance Ministers Agreed to Develop New Digital Taxation Rules
  2. Mission of China to the EUGermany Stands Ready to Deepen Cooperation With China
  3. World VisionFirst Ever Young People Consultation to Discuss the Much Needed Peace in Europe
  4. European Jewish CongressGermany First Country to Adopt Working Definition of Antisemitism
  5. EU2017EEFour Tax Initiatives to Modernise the EU's Tax System
  6. Dialogue PlatformResponsibility in Practice: Gulen & Islamic Thought
  7. Counter BalanceHuman Rights Concerns Over EIB Loan to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline Project
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina Leads the Global Clean Energy Transition
  9. CES - Silicones EuropeFrom Baking Moulds to Oven Mitts, Silicones Are a Key Ingredient in Kitchens
  10. Martens CentreFor a New Europeanism: How to Put the Motto "Unity in Diversity" Into Practice
  11. Access MBAGet Ahead With an MBA Degree. Top MBA Event in Brussels
  12. Idealist QuarterlyIdealist Quarterly Event: Building Fearless Democracies With Gerald Hensel