EU ministers are set to approve a change to existing law that would essentially allow border guards to decide who has the right to seek asylum and who doesn’t by giving them the power to turn away third-country nationals (those not from EU countries).
The revision to the Crisis Management Regulation (CMR) is supposed to address instances of ‘instrumentalisation’ — this refers to countries outside the EU encouraging people from farther away to enter the EU in large numbers.
The change in the law would apply only when a situation is deemed ‘instrumentalisation’, and it is unclear who and how it will be decided that that definition is applied. Russia, Belarus and Morocco have all been complicit in this — making visa applications for people from African countries and the Middle East easy to obtain, often with promises of an easy ride into the EU.
The discussions at the European Parliament are all linked to the new EU migration policy. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawieski has contested some parts of the policy, including “mandatory relocation” — this means that all EU member states are obliged to assist asylum seekers and refugees who arrive in a border country to share the responsibility. The objections have caused two other parts of the migration policy to be put on hold pending a referendum on 15th October.
The contradiction of this law with the Human Rights Convention is distressing.
Everyone fleeing persecution or serious harm in their country has the right to ask for international protection. Asylum is a fundamental right, and granting it to people who comply with the criteria set in the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the status of refugees is an international obligation for States parties, which include EU Member States EU Fundamental Rights.
This article first appeared in Are You Syrious?