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Ewropej: Member states may not always fully respect fundamental rights in migration, MEP says

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“There is some good reason to believe that Member States might not fully respect fundamental rights when it comes to migrants, Member of the European Parliament Birgit Sippel said. 

The German MEP is rapporteur in the European Parliament on the Migration and Asylum Pact Regulation on the ‘screening’ of migrants at the EU’s external borders who will have to pass through security checks for five days before being redirected to an asylum or return procedure. 

Sippel said that there should be monitoring that was not only organised by the Member States and their authorities, but if they had the support of an organisation such as the Fundamental Rights Agency. 

States should also allow NGOs and lawyers to enter places where screening and asylum procedures are carried out to report on the actual situation. 

Sippel said she understands why Southern countries, including Malta, could see the directive as another additional obligation. 

“The impression given by the proposals is that, in the countries of first arrival, they will have to accommodate people who are arriving, do the screening, do the asylum procedure,” she said. 

“In cases where people don’t get asylum, they will have to do the return procedure. So people will continue to stay in this country,” Sippel added. “And even for those who get an asylum status, there is nothing foreseen in terms of mandatory scheme or relocation. So everything is happening in the country of first arrival. I do understand that they want to see some more binding elements of solidarity,” she explained. 

Sippel believes that it is time to try to move forward with “the most serious countries” on Asylum Pact rather than seeking consensus at all costs. 

“Perhaps we should not try desperately to convince all Member States; maybe it’s better to have a result with a big number of Member States, but not with all of them,” she said.

This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains. 

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