EU: Asylum: Austria and Denmark announce their "vision for a better protection system in a globalized world"

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Asylum: Austria and Denmark announce their "vision for a better protection system in a globalized world"
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A paper published by the Austrian interior ministry and the Danish Ministry of Immigration and Integration declares that "migration and asylum policy will shape Europe's future", arguing that "many citizens have lost trust in their governments' ability to deal with the challenges of irregular migration" - trust which will only be restored by "an alternative, unifying vision".

See: Vision for a Better Protection System in a Globalized World: Mending a Broken System (pdf)

That vision is to prevent refugees and migrants arriving in the EU only as a very last resort. The paper declares that: "Refugees are entitled to live in safety and dignity; they are not entitled to unlimited migration." The paper follows on from one produced by the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU (pdf) for an informal meeting of the Council's internal security committee, COSI, in July 2018.

The contents of the document are summarised in what the two ministries call "seven goals of a better protection system" (emphasis in original):

1. Helping the most vulnerable: Establish a system that will identify and assist those who really need protection rather than unintentionally favouring those who have the greatest financial means and/or endurance to embark on long journeys.

2. Help to create perspectives in regions of origin instead of enabling irregular migration to Europe: Reinforce global support to countries of first reception, including by improving economic opportunities and livelihoods, both for refugees and host communities, in order to enhance protection and minimize the need for onward irregular movement.

3. Prevent further deaths and tragedies in the Mediterranean and along the migratory routes: Strengthen the capacity of asylum and migration authorities along the migratory routes to ensure access to protection and to effectively combat trafficking and smuggling, thus reducing exploitation and the loss of lives of irregular migrants and migrating refugees.

4. Break the business model of traffickers and smugglers: Establish a legal Search and Rescue (SAR) framework in the entire Mediterranean, based on existing maritime conventions, as well as set up SAR centres/Regional Disembarkation Arrangements outside the EU to prevent SAR operations from being an unintended operational tool of traffickers and smugglers.

5. Guarantee effective management of the EU’s external borders & Ensure all individuals staying illegally leave the EU: this should include screening procedures at enhanced hot-spots. Use all necessary foreign policy tools to ensure humane return – preferably on a voluntary basis – of all individuals without a legal right to remain to either 1) their countries of origin 2) a safe third country or 3) a return centre or an alternative legal migration destination located outside the EU. Circumvention of protection opportunities (“safe havens”) along migratory routes should no longer be feasible and shall be taken into account in the national refugee determination systems.

6. Engage in common but differentiated responsibility-sharing in order to protect refugees and effectively stem irregular migration to the EU: All EU- and Schengen-States must show solidarity – not least in crisis situations. States should have a choice as to how. Solidarity should include measures in regions of origin, along the migratory routes, at the external border, and upon arrival in the EU.

7. Offer resettlement to those with the greatest need for protection rather than the strongest selecting themselves: Once irregular movement is reduced and public trust restored, safe and legal pathways via resettlement are created for the most vulnerable and those with the greatest protection needs.

See: Vision for a Better Protection System in a Globalized World: Mending a Broken System (pdf) and the previous paper produced by the Austrian Council Presidency: Strengthening EU External Border Protection and a Crisis-Resistant EU Asylum System (pdf)

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