11 May 2023
The Council of the EU wants to simplify the detention of families and children for the purposes of processing asylum applications at the borders.
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Image: David Stanley, CC BY 2.0
As reported by EUobserver earlier this week, the Swedish Presidency of the Council has proposed removing an exception to examining asylum applications from "minors below the age of 12 and their family members" through the "border procedure" included in the forthcoming Asylum Procedure Regulation.
The Council's latest version of that Regulation (pdf), circulated on 24 April, includes the following:
"The border procedure shall be applied to unaccompanied minors only in the cases referred to in Article 40(5)(b), and to minors below the age of 12 and their family members only in the cases referred to in Article 40(1)(f)."
The EUobserver report notes that:
"Rights campaigners say the end result will lead to more detention, more illegal push-backs, and possibly even a boost for migrant smugglers keen on exploiting the clamp down on fundamental rights. Critics have warned it could lead to a repeat of ghetto-like camps once seen on the Greek islands."
Those "ghetto-like" camps have in large part been replaced by high-tech prisons built with hundreds of millions of euros in EU funds, as Refugee Support Aegean have recently documented, and as was reported by Statewatch in late 2021.
The Parliament opposes the application of the border procedure to children and their family members, but whatever form the final Regulation takes, it appears that a lot more people will be imprisoned at the EU's borders in the name of orderly "migration management".
Discussions are ongoing on the Pact, with member states debating how to deal with the European Parliament's position on Eurodac and discussions ongoing within the Council on the Asylum and Migration Management Regulation. Documents published here provide an insight into the issues under discussion.
The Swedish Council Presidency says there is an “evident” need to revise the EU’s visa suspension mechanism due to “a near-record number of asylum applications in 2022” from citizens of visa-free countries and an “extremely cumbersome” process for removing countries from the visa-free list.
The latest Council draft of the Asylum and Migration Management Regulation (AMMR) includes a substantial number of changes, including the introduction of the concept of "adaptable responsibility" and an array of new bodies dominated by the member states intended to govern the implementation of EU migration policy.
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