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REVIEW – Von Der Leyen to unveil plan to review migration policy after Moria camp fire



BRUSSELS (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – September 16, 2020) After years of unsuccessful attempts to find consensus on tackling the migration time bomb, the executive arm of the European Union is finally ready to unveil an overhaul plan policy on September 23 after being prompted by the devastating Moria campfire that left some 12,000 migrants homeless.

President Ursula von der Leyen was due to present the long-delayed migration pact on September 30, but last week’s fire that destroyed the largest camp on the Greek island of Lesvos added additional urgency to her political announcement.

The migrant crisis in Europe began in 2015, when Chancellor Angela Merkel began welcoming undocumented migrants entering Germany, most of them via the “Balkan route”, coming from Turkey and crossing the Aegean Sea. to Greece.

The influx reached around 1.5 million refugees and migrants. The crisis led Austria, Hungary and other countries to close their borders for fear of being overwhelmed by the influx, which included not only asylum seekers, but also economic migrants and their families.

The German Interior Ministry estimated the number of additional arrivals due to the “family reunification” system at 4.5, implying that each accepted migrant would later be joined by more than four people (wife, children, parents). All would also be entitled to social benefits at the expense of the taxpayers of the host country.

This policy quickly became unpopular in many European countries and contributed to Brexit, as well as to the rise of right-wing parties that oppose the open-arms approach.

The Dublin regulation, which stipulates that asylum seekers must be treated in the country of their first arrival, has led Italy, Greece and, to a lesser extent, Spain, to be inundated with arrivals of migrants . Their pleas for help in Brussels or other Member States have mostly fallen on deaf ears.

Five years after the onset of the crisis, the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean and the Aegean has subsided, but the crisis has not been resolved and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to threaten Europe. ‘open the doors’ to hundreds of thousands of migrants.

The recent Moria campfire is often attributed to Europe’s inability to resolve the migration crisis. Years of unsuccessful attempts to overhaul the Dublin system have created overcrowded Greek camps, prone to fire risks.

Following the fire, 10 EU member states pledged to accept a total of 400 minors who were previously based in the camp. German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced on Tuesday that Germany would accept some 1,500 migrants in addition to 100 to 150 unaccompanied minors.

Political parties to the left of the political spectrum argue that this is not enough. This would still leave more than 10,000 migrants in Lesbos, without status and without a decision about their future.

The European Commission defends the efforts of member states, noting that the bloc has helped Greece to displace part of the population.

“There are around 12,000 residents in Moria camp and around 14,000 migrants in total in Lesvos, and none are arriving. In fact, over the past 6 months, the resident population of Moria camp has grown from over 25,000 to around 12,000, also thanks to our support to the Greek authorities, ”said the spokesperson for the Commission for Human Rights. migrations, Adalbert Jahnz, to Sputnik.


The bloc now waits until September 23, when von der Leyen will present proposals for a new pact on migration and asylum.

In the months leading up to the political announcement, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson lamented in an interview with Politico that “voluntary solidarity” is not enough and that she is in favor of mandatory mechanisms.

“Eastern European countries like Hungary, Poland and others oppose any compulsory plan to redistribute asylum seekers across the bloc, while Mediterranean countries like Italy, l ‘Spain and Greece insist on this aspect … In my opinion, voluntary solidarity is not enough, then we must have a compulsory solidarity mechanism, but the exact design of this compulsory solidarity mechanism still needs to be fine-tuned ”, she said in the June interview.

In September, the Swedish commissioner reiterated her position live on Swedish NVT: “We are tired of ‘ad hoc’ solutions. We need a common regulatory framework, and Sweden is one of the countries supporting a compulsory solidarity system in which all countries participate. and contribute when a country is in a vulnerable situation, like Greece. “

She noted that a common migration policy was a complex issue, but “the system for people crossing borders irregularly, around 140,000 last year, needs to be improved. Especially to ensure the return of those who do not. ‘have no right to stay “.

All figures presented by European Member States indicate that very few undocumented migrants ultimately leave the EU. When ordered to leave the country, most of them simply disperse and go into hiding.

In France in 2018, out of all the people supposed to leave the country, only 91,150 actually left it and 479,275 remained. The ratio is the same in Belgium or Italy and a little better in Germany, but the problem remains. The question is whether the long-awaited pact will effectively address the issue of hot spots and evictions.

As to Johansson’s remarks on “compulsory solidarity”, Sputnik received the following response from commission spokesperson Jahnz: “Your interpretation of what this means in practice is totally misleading. You will have the opportunity to judge for yourself. – even the content of the pact once it is published. It will indeed be subject to the approval of the European Parliament and the Council. “

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