Migration crisis. MEPs against asylum exceptions for Poland

  • The European Commission has submitted a project – foreseen for only a period of six months – to exempt Poland, Lithuania and Latvia from some of the requirements of the asylum law
  • The reason is a hybrid migration attack by the regime of Alexander Lukashenka
  • This regulation must be approved in the EU Council by the votes of at least 15 countries, accounting for 65% of the total. the population of the Union
  • But the European Parliament has only a consultative voice in this ad hoc procedure
  • You can read more similar stories on the main website of Onet

– This project consists in bypassing the rights of the European Union, bypassing the European Parliament, attacking the rights of people on the border, which Lukashenka used to use instrumentally – argued today (January 13, 2022) the French MEP Sylvie Guillaume, who represented the center-left club during the debate of the LIBE committee (civil liberties , justice, home affairs) in the European Parliament.

One of the key points of the European Commission’s proposal is to extend the allowed registration period for asylum applications from 10 days to four weeks. Moreover, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia could limit the places where such applications may be submitted, which may amount to the legal “redirection” of migrants (including refugees) to other places on the border – without the limit in meters or kilometers specified in the regulation.

However, the most important change is the consent to extend the extraordinary “border procedure” to almost all migrants crossing the border from Belarus to Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, and to extend it from four to 16 weeks.

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Such a border procedure, which includes the examination of an asylum application (including its admissibility) with an appeal, is based on the legal fiction of “not crossing the border”. Most often it is used in the immediate vicinity of the border or in transit zones, and the result of refusal – in the legal sense – is not deportation, but refusal to consent to crossing the border. And this often comes close to – according to humanitarian organizations – a semi-legal pushback. While not an absolute requirement, the border procedure usually involves the internment of migrants.

– Our project complies with EU law and international law. Every migrant has the right to submit and process an asylum application. There is no place in the EU for pushbacks – emphasized today Ylva Johansson, EU commissioner for internal affairs.

The Polish government is also dissatisfied

The government of Mateusz Morawiecki is not satisfied with the Commission’s proposal, because it would like much more, that is, the official right to suspend the receipt of asylum applications in the event of “hybrid attacks”. But neither Brussels nor changing the project in such a radical direction – according to unofficial information – is not being undertaken by the French presidency. On the other hand, the Commission’s proposal has already been criticized by humanitarian and non-governmental organizations.

According to Amnesty International, the situation with Belarus is used as a pretext to weaken asylum requirements to promote the anti-immigration policy of some EU countries. Human Rights Watch is sounding the alarm over its “terrible precedent” in perpetuating human rights violations at the Union’s borders. And Oxfam saw the Commission’s proposal as allowing EU countries to treat the lives of migrants as a tool in geopolitical games with Lukashenka.

Konstantinos Monolopulos from the Viennese EU Fundamental Rights Agency during today’s LIBE meeting, among others He called for the temporary loosening of the requirements of EU law not to apply not only to sick migrants or refugees (as proposed by the Commission), but also to all minors or members of the LGBT + minority.

In turn, Catherine Woollard from the European Council on Refugees and Exiles argued that the relatively small scale of migration from Belarus does not at all justify adopting extraordinary legal solutions tailored to this crisis. On the other hand, Sophie Magennis, representing the UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, warned that the new rules could become an even greater threat in the absence of monitoring of the border by independent observers. UNHCR already – as Magennis reminded – does not have free access to the border with Belarus, neither in Poland, nor in Lithuania and Latvia.

“Pull back this project”

A representative of the center-right European People’s Party (including the German Christian Democrats, PO, PSL) defended the European Commission proposal, which, however – apart from the center-left – was sharply rejected by representatives of a few other factions.

– There are several thousand people at the border. Have we used any other means of help? Why is this weakening of the asylum law? Withdraw this project, called the Dutch Sophie in ‘t Veld on behalf of the “Renew Europe” faction. In addition, together with a representative of the Green Club, she tried – without great success – to ask the European Commission why, instead of submitting new projects, she did not initiate, inter alia, anti-infringement proceedings against Poland for breaking the current EU law, including illegal pushbacks.

Commissioner Johansson assured about the readiness to enforce the presence of UNHCR on the border, because it is an element of the EU asylum rules. However, Margaritis Schinas, vice-president of the Commission, was evasive. Spanish MEP Jorge Buxade Villalba, on behalf of the conservative faction (including PiS), accused other deputies of usurping the right to define what is a migration crisis, although it is best judged by specific governments in the EU.

The French presidency of the EU Council is planning a debate on this controversial project in February, and a vote in March. Despite harsh criticism from the European Parliament and a serious reduction of the border crisis (including thanks to EU diplomacy in the Middle East), the European Commission currently estimates that the project will obtain the required majority in the EU Council and will enter into force.

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Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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