Spanish NGO warns of ‘devastating effects’ of EU’s new migration pact

Europe
Thu, 11 Apr 2024 4:33 GMT
Spanish refugee commission CEAR says strategy would make it easier to violate human rights.
Spanish NGO warns of ‘devastating effects’ of EU’s new migration pact

A Spanish NGO on Wednesday warned of the “devastating effects” that the EU’s new migration pact could have on migrants and refugees.

As the European Parliament was preparing to vote on the sweeping reform to the bloc’s migration and asylum rules on Wednesday, the Spanish refugee commission CEAR said that the new plan would only make it easier for European countries to violate human rights.

“The main goal is to block people from arriving, and if they do arrive, expel them as quickly as possible,” said CEAR in a statement.

After an exhaustive analysis of the new EU Asylum and Migration Pact, CEAR said the scheme will serve to further externalize the EU’s borders to third countries and impose more obstacles to the right to asylum.

The organization accuses the bloc of “failing miserably” in its goal to harmonize laws and share responsibilities for asylum across more EU nations.

Instead, the new pact will only increase pressure on border states like Spain by speeding up deadlines for how fast claims must be processed, CEAR said.

At the same time, the NGO criticized a new screening system that would delay access to processing claims.

It also slammed the pact’s “solidarity mechanism” which would allow EU states to pay a certain amount for migration projects for every migrant or refugee it refuses to take in.

“Paying not to receive is unacceptable, especially when financing countries… where human rights are not respected, nor is adequate protection guaranteed,” Mauricio Valiente, CEAR's director of policies and campaigns, said in the statement.

The Spanish NGO also warns that parts of the law could turn European borders into “spaces without rights, in which poor reception conditions and excessive use of detention are normalized, despite the fact that deprivation of freedom should always be the last alternative.”

Under the new migration deal, states would also be allowed to declare a crisis when migration services are overwhelmed due to a massive influx of migrants. In these types of situations, standard procedures could be suspended.

CEAR warned that this could result in even more erosion of rights.

"The pact crystallizes decades of a short-sighted and border control-based approach to migration,” added Valiente. “The new rules pose significant risks in terms of protection and human rights, and do not address the shortcomings that justified, eight years ago, the need for a reform of the Common European Asylum System.”

CEAR is not the only organization up in arms about the proposed reform.

In December, over 50 NGOs, including Amnesty International and Oxfam, sent an open letter to the EU about the scheme’s human rights risks.

If the pact passes Wednesday’s vote in the EU Parliament, it would then need to clear its final hurdle in a qualified majority vote on April 29.

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