Asylum Policy News
Guest blog by: Chris Nash, Director, European Network on Statelessness
Much will be at stake for Afghanistan and the international community during the coming months, not in the least our credibility. The EU has the chance to prove adherence to its values and geopolitical relevancy by coordinating a sustainable and human rights centred approach, including towards Afghan citizens fleeing the Taliban. But this requires a substantial shift in the current narrative and strong EU leadership.
Speakers from local governments such as Barcelona, Strasbourg and Leuven, NGOs, migrant-led organisations and institutions explored the welcoming nature of local communities and municipalities and discussed how municipalities can be better integrated in EU asylum policy. The conference explored alternatives which can better highlight the crucial role of local communities in EU legislations including through better and simplified access to structural funds and a more active role in the future relocation mechanism.
Here the page of the EUROPE WELCOMES campaign by the Greens/EFA: https://www.greens-efa.eu/en/campaigns/migration
In this written question, twelve MEPs demand the Commission to properly assess the case of refugees illegally deported back to Turkey and the role of Greek authorities in such pushbacks.
In this letter, Tineke Strik shares with Vice-President Schinas and Commissioner Johansson her concerns on the current situation on the Greek islands after her visit to Greece in May 2021 and calls on the Commission to act in order to evacuate the camps on the islands.
Written Question submitted by nine MEPs regarding the non-implementation of ruling C-808/18 by the Court of Justice of the European Union which ruled that the 2016 Hungarian legislation on pushbacks of migrants and asylum seekers breaches EU law.
In this written question, fourteen MEPs inquiry the Commission on the lack of SAR operations in the Mediterranean in the proposed new Pact on Migration and Asylum.
In this letter fifty-three MEPs bring the attention of the Commission to the situation in the central Mediterranean Sea where on the 21st of April a rubber boat with about 130 people on board sank northeast of Tripoli.
In this letter, 48 MEPs joined my call on the European Commission to act in order to protect the health of refugees and ensure comprehensive lead testing in Mavrovouni camp in Lesbos, Greece.
In this letter thirty-three MEPs call on the Danish authorities to reconsider their asylum and migration policy which allows for the return of Syrian refugees to Syria.
In this letter nineteen MEPs call on the Commission to act to intervene in the case of Ms Maleno, human rights defender and founder of Caminando Fronteras Collective who was recently expelled from Morocco in retaliation for her work in defense of human rights.
Written Question submitted by MEP Tineke Strik questioning whether the Commission will react after new evidence of pushbacks at the Croatian border were found.
Written Question submitted by MEP Tineke Strik regarding the risk of lead poisoning on the location of the new migrant camp on Lesbos.
On 15 January 2021, the Working Group on Fundamental Rights and Legal Operational Aspects of Operations (the “Working Group”) established by the Management Board of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (“Frontex”) put forward a number of questions to the Commission.
Here the reply by the legal service of the Commission.
In this letter, thirty-seven MEPs call on Croatian authorities to look into the case of Mr.Mahdi whose refugee status was revoked on 11 May 2020 on allegations that he represents a “threat to national security” and that he misrepresented his sectarian affiliation.
In October 2020, a group of media outlets published evidence about Frontex vessels involved in human rights violations in the Aegean Sea. This raised serious questions about the EU agency’s denial of knowledge of or active contribution to pushbacks. The evidence shows how Frontex witnessed the Hellenic Coast Guard conducting pushbacks but also how the EU agency’s was actively involved in these activities. The situation at the Croatian-Bosnian border, where pushbacks and violence by the Croatian authorities are reported constantly, also raises questions on the involvement of Frontex in these breaches of human rights. In theory, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2019/1896) foresees Frontex’s obligation to terminate activities in case of violations of fundamental rights, as well as several mechanisms to prevent such breaches.
The panelists were:Prof. Nora Markard, Professor for International Public Law and International Human Rights, University of Münster Matthias Oel, Director - Borders, Interoperability and Innovation, Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, European Commission Andreas I. Pottakis, Greek Ombudsman Tineke Strik, Member of the European Parliament, Greens/EFA, rapporteur of the new European Parliament Frontex Scrutiny Working Group
Moderation: Neda Noraie-Kia, Head of Migration Policy Europe, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Thessaloniki Office
Front-LEX and the Legal Centre Lesvos submitted this request for action on the part of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX or the Agency), pursuant to Article 265 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
Front-LEX and the Legal Centre Lesvos invite the Agency to consider its position vis-à-vis its activities in the host Member State Greece and to immediately suspend or terminate all its activities in the Aegean Sea Region, in compliance with The Agency’s obligations under Article 46 (4) of European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) Regulation.
In this letter, Frontex Executive Director presents the first Working Arrangement that is signed between Frontex and the Republic of Guinea, which establishes the framework for cooperation with the Guinean counterparts in a number of areas of the Agency’s mandate.
When presenting the New Pact, the Commission put a lot of emphasis on the need for an effective return policy. The argument which Commissioner Johansson kept using was that only one third of the asylum seekers are being granted asylum, although analyses clearly show that during the previous years around 60 percent received protection, including in appeal. Another assumption underlying the proposals is that the current legislation on return procedures is causing ineffective return policies. This was exactly the reason behind the proposed recast Return Directive which is still under negotiation.
In this letter forty MEPs request full information on the status and interim results of the preparation of the legal basis for the arming of Frontex.
In this letter, eight MEPs urge the European Commission to address the issue of pushbacks in the European Union as a matter of priority and to do everything possible to prevent these incidents and take appropriate action.
Written Question submitted by MEP Tineke Strik regarding Fundamental rights compliance by Frontex staff and the current absence of the Fundamental Rights Officer.
Pushback policies and practice are an increasing phenomenon at Europe’s borders, in clear violation of the rights of asylum seekers and refugees, including the right to seek asylum and the protection against refoulement, which are at the core of international refugee and human rights law. There are persistent reports and evidence of inhuman and degrading treatment by member States and their agencies in the framework of those pushbacks, through intimidation, taking or destroying migrants’ belongings, and even through the use of violence and depriving migrants of food and basic services.
This report, requested by Tineke Strik, looks at fundamental rights compliance at the European Union (EU)’s external land borders, including rivers and lakes. On 30 January 2020, the European Parliament requested the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) to prepare a report on these borders. It noted that the report should focus on the correct application of the safeguards in the European asylum acquis and the provisions of the Schengen Borders Code (Regulation (EU) 2016/399).
In these documents (a letter and an information note) the Hungarian Helsinki Committee raises the issue of fundamental rights violations at the Hungarian- Serbian border and summarises the HHC’s experiences with Frontex and its human rights compliance mechanisms in the last years.
Pushbacks at our external borders have become a widespread practice. Why are these violations so persistent, and what can be done to stop them? We need a wider scope of the newly proposed monitoring mechanism, stricter enforcement of the rules and stronger scrutiny from the European Parliament and Commission.
In this letter, forty-eight MEPs call on Bosnian authorities as well as on the European Commission, the European Council and EEAS to take immediate action and humanitarian measures to protect migrants in Bosnia Herzegovina.
In this letter, thirty-five MEPs call on the European Commission to proceed to the immediate evacuation, redistribution and relocation of all persons seeking protection from Lesvos and all the Aegean Islands and to ensure the right to international protection in EU Member States.
Tineke presented her Implementation Report of the Return Directive during the Plenary session on the 15 December 2020.
On Wednesday 9 December, 17:00-18:30 CET, MEPs Damien Carême and Tineke Strik hosted a webinar with several experts from both the EU and UK side as well as organisations working on the ground. Speakers discussed the current situation, consequences and recommendations towards a smooth transition which will safeguard the right to asylum.
As the end date of the transition phase for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU approaches, there are still many uncertainties for both sides of how the future relationship will look like in various policy fields. This is also the case for the field of asylum and migration. As the Brexit deadline approaches, the number of people trying to reach the UK in small and unstable boats or hidden in trucks is rapidly increasing with a rise also in incidents and deaths.
Great uncertainty exists about how the cooperation with regards to Dublin, Family Reunification, Returns and other migration agreements will look like.
(Photo by Abdul Saboor)
Tineke Strik is rapporteur for the draft report "Human rights protection and the EU external migration policy" in the DROI Committee.
In this webinar hosted by TOBB Brussels in collaboration with the EU Turkey Forum, Tineke Strik intervened at minute 31:10.
On the 28 October 2020 the Greens/EFA organised a webinar titled "Migration Pact: a better future for migration and asylum in the EU?"
In this report, drafted after an ad hoc visit to Greece in March 2020, the Council of Europe's anti-torture committee (CPT) once again urges the Greek authorities to change their approach towards immigration detention and to ensure that migrants deprived of their liberty are treated both with dignity and humanity.
In this letter eighty-three MEPs call on the Commission to push for the immediate relocation of all asylum-seekers who used to live in Moria camp. In particular they call to relocate unaccompanied, separated or sick children and vulnerable persons. MEPs also urge the Commission to work with the Greek authorities to ensure that the new camp is safe for all and that it has adequate infrastructure with access to running water, food and health provisions and dedicated services for vulnerable people as well as access to education and to legal aid and they also stress the importance to ensure that NGOs are supported in carrying out their vital work on the ground.
The expectations were high before the launch of the proposals for a New Pact on Migration and Asylum. A new impetus was desperately needed in order to achieve a real harmonisation of asylum policies and most of all, a fair responsibility-sharing of asylum claims among the Member States.
Written Question submitted by MEP Erik Marquardt, co-signed by Tineke Strik (a.o.), regarding the prosecution of NGOs in Greece. The Questions were submitted at 07/10/2020, which sets the deadline for the Commission to respond at 07/2020. The reply of the Commission will be uploaded upon receival.
Following the letter which was sent by the chair of the LIBE Committee to Commissioner Johansson on 17/09/2020, the following Written Questions were submitted on 16/10/2020 to the European Commission by Tineke Strik, addressing the New Ministrial Decision and thereby updated version of the Greek NGO registration Law.
Given the urgency of the situation, these questions were submitted as priority questions which reducing the deadline to respond for the Commission to one month. The deadline to reply is therefore set at 16/11/2020. Upon receival, the Commission's replies will be added to this website.
The following Written Questions were submitted on 07/10/2020 to the European Commission by Tineke Strik with regards to the current absence of Frontex' Fundamental Rights Officer and the related compliance of Fundamental Rights.
The deadline for the European Commission to reply is 07/12/2020. Upon receival, the Commission's replies will be added to this website.