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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

EU policy on asylum seekers will leave some ‘treated like criminals’ – MEP

EURO-MPs have adopted a common EU approach to asylum policy.

But the common refugee policy – which will not be fully adopted in the UK -could still see some asylum seekers treated ‘like criminals’ and locked up in inhumane conditions, London’s Green MEP Jean Lambert has warned.

The Greens’ asylum and migration spokesperson said:

“This final outcome is a massive missed opportunity for a common EU asylum policy. Instead of adopting a set of rules, based on a humanitarian and rights-based approach, national governments have worked to make as few upgrades as possible: the European Parliament has had to fight for almost every improvement.

“While the review of the rules on which state is responsible for dealing with asylum seekers (Dublin III) has led to some improvements, it remains a wholly inappropriate regulatory system for dealing with asylum applications on an EU basis.

“The system, by which asylum seekers are sent back to the EU member state they first entered to have their asylum application dealt with, is based on a totally flawed premise – that every member state delivers a high-quality, consistent approach to claims.

“Despite some improvements – for example on legal assistance or the rights of unaccompanied minors – this flaw still remains.”

For many, they face a lottery as to whether or not their claim is properly dealt with, as recent evidence has made clear.

In this revised regulation, there are no provisions to suspend transfers en bloc to a country in breach of fundamental rights or EU law and there is no binding solidarity mechanism, with a view to ensuring individual member states are not left overwhelmed by asylum applications.

“Many Member States have become used to detaining asylum seekers as a matter-of-course and while there are now restrictions to this under EU legislation, there are still derogations which could see the practice continuing. Asylum seekers are not criminals – they are people who are fleeing danger – and should not be routinely locked-up in closed centres.

“A truly common European approach to asylum, based on humane treatment of those who come to the EU to escape persecution, will sadly not result from the legislation that we are set to adopt unless Member States are more constructive in implementing the revised legislation than they were in its negotiation.”

She added: “The UK should fully opt in and work towards improving standards for asylum seekers across the EU, as well as ensuring that all countries play their part in helping tackle what is clearly an international problem.”