Press release

“Sponsoring” returns mark the point of non-return of the asylum system

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Published on: 24.09.2020

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson presented the new Pact on Migration and Asylum which would replace the Dublin regulation. The idea that emerges is that the Member States that do not want to receive migrants can take charge of their expulsion. They will provide the other States with financial support or logistical help with the returns, in a framework still based on expedited asylum procedures at the borders.

For us it is really difficult to accept that enhanced cooperation for fast returns will, as the Commissioner said, “fundamentally protect the right to seek asylum”. What they call “sponsoring” returns – namely ensuring support for repatriating expelled migrants – can be the end of the asylum system.

The European Commission President said the new Pact would “rebuild trust between the Member States” and ensure the “right balance between solidarity and responsibility”. We are worried because we see no real changes from the past policies, nor an attempt to adopt a rights-based approach – but only the fight against “irregular” migration through the externalisation of borders.

This idea can mark the beginning of a downward negotiation, that tries to smoothen the positions of Poland and Hungary – which have refused to take in arrivals in the past – in return for money. What we need, instead, is the universal respect of human rights, including the right to seek asylum, while reinforcing social responsibility and international solidarity.

Heinz Bierbaum, President of the EL