How the "New Pact on Migration and Asylum" further strengthens Fortress Europe and excludes humanity.

Nobody seriously expected that the European Commission's proposal for the "New Pact on Migration and Asylum " would be a U-turn in European policy of isolation. But that the failure of previous approaches would be ignored and that complaints about illegal procedures of European border control authorities would be completely ignored is a strong statement. A glance at the individual proposals in this draft shows that the "solidarity" repeatedly asserted does indeed refer to increased deportation and cooperation with militias from third countries and not to support of those in need of protection. The new pact is about sealing off, even fewer opportunities for refugees, less commitment against humanitarian disasters and above all: deportations and rejections directly at the external borders and even faster repatriations.

But let's go into the details: Indeed, the official draft still mentions the promotion of sea rescue and responsibility for human rights at sea as central components of the pact. However, the further roadmap for implementing the innovations paints a completely different picture. Here, it is merely a matter of expanding Frontex operations (as a reminder, this is the EU authority that most recently provoked outrage because of direct involvement in pushbacks). The Frontex operations are to be reinforced by a "permanent reserve" from January 1, 2021, and their sole purpose is to combat illegal entry and smuggling. To this end, the cooperation with well-known big names in the European circle of friends, such as the so-called Libyan coast guard, is also to be strengthened. In order to deepen the cooperation, the surveillance of the sea borders from the air and the exchange of this information is to be expanded. This means in plain language: Frontex wants to work more closely with Libyan militias and provide them with information from aerial reconnaissance so that even more pull-backs can be carried out. Support for civil rescue or even the establishment of a state-run sea rescue: Nothing at all.

On land, entry into the EU is also to be made considerably more difficult. So-called "screening centers" are to be set up at the external borders of the EU in order to raise the entry and asylum procedures from the member states to the European level. Therefore these centers, which will inevitably become closed mass camps with the associated supply bottlenecks, instead of belonging to the respective EU state, are zones that do not legally belong to the EU territory at all. Through the so-called "fiction of non-entry", people hoping to finally arrive in the EU after a long and exhausting journey, are housed in a stateless area where their access to legal protection and fair treatment is severely restricted. In addition, they have to undergo intensive security and identity tests in advance. They can already submit their asylum application, but are initially sorted according to the EU-wide recognition rate of their country of origin. If this is less than 20%, they are subjected to an accelerated procedure to examing their asylum claim. A decision on their case is to be made within twelve weeks, which is far too little time for an adequate procedure and a fair decision on a sufficient basis.

Although the European responsibility for these screening centers means that recognized protection seekers are distributed throughout Europe, this is unfortunately not a binding distribution mechanism. In fact, the EU has surpassed itself in its striving for solidarity by offering the concept of "deportation sponsorship" to states unwilling to accept refugees. This allows one country to take over the deportation of people for another country instead of accepting refugees themselves. It then ensures the necessary arrangements and finances and organizes the deportation of the affected people. No question, such a mechanism describes the new solidarity of the EU very aptly and will quickly ensure that deportations become an economic concept of cost reduction. It is obvious that this happens at the expense of those seeking protection, who all too often are even deported against current EU law, and become victims of wrong decisions. However, the EU is so concerned about deportation and a faster and more efficient handling of return procedures that it is explicitly dedicating a new job to the deportation issue: the "Return Coordinator" (presumably this job will find some popularity and a host of motivated candidates. Right at the forefront: Mitarakis, Seehofer, Orban).

Last but not least, cooperation with countries of transit and origin is planned to be intensified in order to prevent people from fleeing at an early stage. Not only does this involve exercising a Eurocentrist-motivated influence on structurally weaker countries, thereby increasing dependencies, but it often favors precisely those structures and actors who are responsible for flight and inhumane living conditions (see also: Europe finances border control in Niger1). One example of this is once again the Libyan coast guard, which, according to several investigations, benefits from smuggling and is even directly related to it.2

It is clear that the EU's solidarity applies only within its borders, if at all, and is very selective. The European privileges are to be protected from the claims of other people at great expense, and inhuman and brutal methods are not flinched from. We strongly condemn the plans of the "New Pact on Migration and Asylum" and will continue to fight against Fortress Europe, injustice at the external borders and the violation of human rights!

Mare Liberum e.V.

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