[This article was published on August 25th 2015 – it is no longer valid as Germany has decided to review its decision on how to handle asylum seekers applications]
While a majority of Western Europeans would be in favour of ending the free movement of people across borders, according to a new IFOP poll, Germany announced yesterday it is dropping EU rules to allow in Syrian refugees.
Under the Dublin agreement rules, asylum seekers in the EU can only apply for refugee status in the first EU member state they enter, and face deportation if they try to apply in another – some exemptions exists for family members only.
However, Germany decided to stop enforcing this rule for Syrian asylum seekers.
From now on, Syrian refugee applications will be channelled into the regular asylum procedure and will not be given the Dublin questionnaires usually provided to applicants.
A humanitarian or migrant crisis?
Thousands more people crossed the Balkans towards Western Europe on Monday. Countries like Macedonia and Greece are being overwhelmed by the numbers, and lack current capacity to deal with the current flow.
Germany is preparing to welcome 750.000 asylum seeking applications this year. France just reformed its asylum seeking procedures.
UK media has been focused to report on the “migrant crisis” in Calais where an approximate 2,000 asylum seekers/undocumented migrants are trying to cross the border illegally.
Since 2014, Britain has accepted 187 refugees under its vulnerable persons relocation scheme. The scheme was set up after the UK declined to participate in the UNHCR resettlement programme for Syria, arguing that “it would be tokenistic given the huge numbers of refugees and that the best approach to the crisis was the provision of humanitarian aid.” This summer David Cameron says Britain will accept ‘a few hundred’ more Syrian refugees from the 4 million displaced by the war.
Sebastian Kurz, the Austrian foreign minister, said yesterday that “This is a humanitarian disaster. (…) The Dublin agreement no longer works” after visiting Macedonia. The Balkans are “overrun and overwhelmed”, he said. “The Dublin system doesn’t only work terribly, it actually doesn’t work at all any more”
Photo credit: Phil Le Gal, The new continent project.
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