work on expulsion of asylum seekers before minimum standards are reached
Slamming the inconclusive outcome of the Justice and Home Affairs Council which finished today in Luxembourg, the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament called for work to be halted on expulsion and repatriation of asylum-seekers before agreement is reached on minimum standards on their qualification and status.
Jean Lambert MEP (Green -- UK) Vice-President of the Greens/EFA said:
"It is contemptible that the Justice and Home Affairs Council cannot reach agreement on minimum standards for asylum seekers. This incredibly important issue has been put off again, even as Justice ministers are seeking ways to more efficiently export their obligations."
"There should be a moratorium on further efforts to expel and repatriate asylum-seekers until the Council manages to think positively and make progress on the minimum standards and definitions directive. If they can't even decide who is entitled to stay, then they shouldn't be finalising plans on how to throw them out."
Ministers also remained inconclusive on the British initiative on asylum policies as laid out in the so-called Blair paper. The Greens/EFA endorse the criticisms by NGOs and are critical about the proposal to create refugees' camps outside the European Union. Camps could be created in countries that will not provide sufficient protection. According to the British proposals those countries would then be responsible for the repatriation of refugees - a task that EU countries are themselves finding extremely difficult to perform.
"This plan threatens the existing national and international protection of refugees. Member states need to create common high standards for the asylum and refugee policy, which are in line with the principles of the Geneva Convention. If we cannot make decisions on how to deal with immigration and asylum-seekers within Europe, we shouldn't be trying to export the problem."