Help MEPs to improve EU-law on refugees


In its proposal for a new law on refugees and immigration, the Commission is looking at what is administrative convenient and could speed up procedures, but not so much how we can improve the refugees' situation and ensure refugees a safe journey, said Jean Lambert, British MEP for the Greens, at a My!Europe conference in Canterbury last weekend, organised by the Sonnenberg Association of Great Britain.

The proposal was submitted by the Commission in June and will be discussed in the European Parliament this autumn. According to Jean Lambert, it is a step backwards compared to the law on refugees and immigration discussed and passed 4 years ago.

One of the steps backward was, she said, that you have no rights under asylum laws if you move from the EU-country to which you were originally assigned to another EU-country.

Another, that the emphasis is now on getting rid of refugees as fast as possible. Therefore all new refugees would have their cases re-examined every year. But this runs counter to the attempt to enhance integration, Jean Lambert said. No employer can feel attracted to employing and training a refugee knowing it he or she might very well be forced to leave the country again after a year.

One step forward in 2011 was that all EU-countries (except Britain, Ireland and Denmark, all of which have opt-out in refugee-and immigration related matters) were to follow the same intelligence information on countries of origin such as Afghanistan, Syria, Eritrea etc.

Another was that, as a refugee, you were guaranteed a proper handling of your case, and that you would be properly treated as long as your case was being examined.

Asked about why refugees had to risk death in the Mediterranean in order to reach European soil and ask for asylum, Jean Lambert explained that it had been considered, but never realised to give refugees that meet qualifications a humanitarian passport, e.g. at a European Union representation in the region they come from.

In an interview after her talk (see video below) she said that MEPs will now try to improve on the proposal by the Commission – but its success would greatly depend on the support given to them by the general public and the media.

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